Liverpool and Tottenham stars ready to work together for Nations League glory, says Kane
Harry Kane is confident club matters will be left at the door when the Champions League finalists join up with Gareth Southgate’s squad and attempt to end England’s trophy drought.
The Three Lions overcame World Cup semi-final foes Croatia and stylish Spain to reach the inaugural Nations League Finals, where Holland lie in wait in Thursday’s semi-final in Guimaraes.
England’s build-up has been higgledy-piggledy as club finals ate into their preparation time, meaning the seven players involved in Saturday’s Champions League final will not train with the squad until Tuesday.
Jordan Henderson lifted the trophy in Madrid alongside Liverpool team-mates Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez, as defeated Tottenham players Eric Dier, Danny Rose, Dele Alli and Kane watched on at the Wanda Metropolitano.
England manager Southgate admitted dealing with the highs and lows experienced by those players will be a challenge, but skipper Kane says club issues are always put to one side when the national team convenes.
“We’ve got such a great bond and, although we’re at different clubs, when we come here everyone’s fully focused on here,” the World Cup Golden Boot winner said.
“You don’t have to talk to people about switching off from club football.
“Everyone just naturally does it and I think the fact we’ve played with each other in club sides and younger England sides (means) we’re all good friends.
“Whether you’re at Spurs or (Manchester) City or Liverpool, we’ve known each other long enough that we’ve become mates.
“When you come here, you just look forward to meeting up and being friends.”
Press Association Sport understands that those involved in the Champions League final will arrive at St George’s Park on Monday evening or early Tuesday morning.
England have to fulfil some UEFA requirements on Tuesday, when the first team meetings and training sessions involving the full 23-man squad will also take place as Southgate attempts to make up for lost time ahead of Thursday’s semi-final.
But Kane and Co are sure to knuckle straight down as the Nations League offers the chance for the Three Lions to win a first major senior trophy since the World Cup in 1966.
“It’s a new tournament, but it’s still a chance to win a trophy in an England shirt, and 1966 was a long time ago,” Kane said.
“We’re going to try and take full advantage.
“We all want to win trophies and have the experience of sharing that with the group and the fans, so it’s a huge incentive.
“The fans are going to be out in numbers and hopefully be part of history.
“You want to bring that joy to people – as a footballer that’s what you want to be a part of.
“I think if we go on and win, it will be another stepping stone to go on to achieve big things in the future.
“Winning trophies breeds that mentality to go on to do more and more, so it’s a chance for us to start early and try to achieve that.”
Hosts Portugal or surprise package Switzerland await in Sunday’s finale at the Estadio do Dragao should England win, although Holland are unlikely to prove a pushover in Guimaraes on Thursday.
Talents like Matthijs de Ligt and Frenkie de Jong are complemented by experienced players such as Dutch skipper Virgil van Dijk, who Kane got precious little change out of in Saturday’s Champions League final.
“It’s going to be tough,” Kane told UEFA ahead of the Estadio D. Afonso Henriques encounter. “They’ve been in great form.
“Obviously, they’ve had a disappointing last couple of years, so they’ve really bounced back.
“They had a tough group in the Nations League and probably weren’t expected to get through, which they did.
“Again, they’re a team that looks like they try to express themselves and try to play good football, attacking football.
“We’ve got to be ready for the challenge. It’s going to be a very, very tough game.
“But again, whenever we look at teams, we look at ourselves first and see what we can do to beat them.”