Kane makes mark as England cruise

Published: Friday 27th March 2015 by The News Editor

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Harry Kane took just 80 seconds to make his mark on international football as he enjoyed a fairytale debut in England’s 4-0 win over Lithuania at Wembley.

Kane entered the pitch in the 71st minute and he nodded the ball in less than two minutes later to round off a simple victory in the Euro 2016 qualifier.

Wayne Rooney moved to within two goals of Sir Bobby Charlton’s England scoring record with an early opener.

He would have moved level with the England great inside 19 minutes had he not rattled the woodwork on two occasions.

But once Rooney made way for Kane, the script was written for the Tottenham striker to score on his debut and he did not disappoint.

Man of the match Danny Welbeck and Raheem Sterling had given England a comfortable cushion against dire opposition and then Kane pounced with just his third touch to put the icing on the cake.

Four years ago Kane was playing in front of 4,581 supporters while on loan for Leyton Orient against Dagenham & Redbridge.

On Friday night, 83,671 witnessed the first of what they hope will be many an England goal for Kane.

He now has 30 to his name this season – a remarkable statistic when you consider he started the campaign as third-choice striker at Spurs.

Manager Roy Hodgson could not be happier at the final whistle. Yes, Lithuania, ranked 94th in the world, proved to be easy opposition. Italy will put up much more resistance in Turin on Tuesday.

But England got the job done. They played with width, flair and potency at the start of the first half and never looked like conceding.

England remain six points clear at the top of Group E and they have now won seven straight matches for the first time since 2006.

Kane’s name caused the loudest cheers when it was read out before kick-off, but the 21-year-old would have to wait to hear the roar of the crowd again as he took his place on the bench.

Rooney was the man who took centre stage and he sensed Charlton’s record was there for the taking.

Fabian Delph clipped the ball over the Lithuania defence and the skipper raced through in the fourth minute. The goalkeeper dived early, giving Rooney a big gap to aim at, but in his quest for perfection, he went right for the bottom corner and the ball struck the post and bounced to safety.

Three minutes later, all was forgiven as Rooney put England ahead.

Welbeck strode into the box and fired at goal after nutmegging his marker. The goalkeeper palmed the ball up in the air and the predator pounced, nodding in from five yards.

Hodgson rose to his feet and applauded.

The early goal breathed confidence into Rooney’s lungs, which where working over-time. The skipper was tearing around the pitch hunting down the ball at every opportunity and he almost scored again in the 19th minute.

Welbeck again beat his marker down the right and lofted a cross to Rooney, who planted a header past Giedrius Arlauskis but it smacked the bar and Jordan Henderson’s attempted follow up was deflected over.

Rooney cursed his luck. He knew he could have equalled Charlton’s tally inside 20 minutes.

There would surely be more chances to come, though. Lithuania were hardly putting up any resistance at all.

They did have a reasonable penalty shout waved away though when Tomas Mikuckis’ overhead kick struck Michael Carrick’s hand.

But the only real chance Lithuania created in the first half came when Deivydas Matulevieius found space in the box, but Phil Jones came to the rescue with a firm tackle.

Henderson and Welbeck both went close and Rooney tested Arlauskis with a free-kick as England remained on top.

And in the final minute of the first half they doubled their lead. Welbeck stooped to meet Henderson’s cross and the ball flew into the net off Tadas Kijanskas’ leg.

England continued to dominate after the restart. Arlauskis pulled off a good save to deny Fabian Delph and Welbeck also had a shot saved by the Lithuania stopper.

The Arsenal forward was left chuckling to himself moments later when he was clipped by Kijanskas and the referee did not award a penalty.

A Rooney penalty would have moved the striker level with Gary Lineker, but he did not complain too much and one minute later he provided the cross that led to England’s third.

The Manchester United captain drifted right and whipped in a low ball which Sterling knocked in for his first England goal.

The crowd roared when they saw Kane was being readied to come on.

The fans became impatient as play continued for four minutes. When he did come on, he made the best impression possible. The tall forward peeled away from his marker at the far post and nodded Sterling’s cross in despite the goalkeeper’s attempt to claw the ball off the line.

A huge smile stretched across the face of the new golden boy of English football as he celebrated by sliding in the corner.

Sterling then started hobbling after suffering an injury in a tackle with Vytautas Andriuskevieius late on.

Kane could not find a second to make his debut even more memorable, but it did not matter. Plenty of England players have had worse starts.

Published: Friday 27th March 2015 by The News Editor

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