Hat-trick hero Harry Kane was happy with the ruthlessness shown by England as they easily swept aside Albania 5-0 at Wembley Stadium to put themselves on the verge of qualifying for the 2022 World Cup.
Five first-half goals from the Three Lions sealed the victory on Friday, meaning that Gareth Southgate’s team need just a point from their final game in Group I against the lowest-ranked team in the world, San Marino, on Monday.
Kane has come in for some criticism at club level this season after scoring just once in 10 Premier League appearances for Tottenham, but he was back to his best for his country, scoring a perfect hat-trick, with a header followed by one with his left foot and one with his right.
Speaking to BBC Radio Five Live after the win, Kane said: “[It was a] great night for the team first and foremost. An important result for us and just the way we went about it.
“To go 5-0 up at half-time shows the character of the squad. We had a bit of a disappointing performance last time we were here at Wembley and we wanted to put that right, and we did that. A great night all round and we can look forward to Monday.
“We were looking to be ruthless all around the pitch, not just in the box or the finishing, we wanted to make it a tough night for them to show the country and the world what we are capable of and I think we did that.
“We will keep doing what we are doing, keep working hard as a team and a squad and hopefully keep improving. Still to get the job done on Monday.”
On his own form, Kane was keen to dismiss the relevance of the noise around his performances after going level with Jimmy Greaves in England’s all-time scorer list (44).
“Whenever I score I seem to be sharp, whenever I don’t, I’m not sharp anymore. That is part and parcel of being a striker. The most important thing is we are moving forward as a team.”
England boss Gareth Southgate was equally pleased with his team’s efforts, and was understandably effusive about their first-half showing, saying to ITV: “The first half was fantastic, as well as we’ve played for a long time. It was hard to maintain that.
“We’re best when we have an edge. We didn’t produce what we should against Hungary, but we had a game tonight that could put us on the verge of qualification for the World Cup.
“I thought Harry gave a brilliant centre forward’s performance – held the ball up, played other people in. HIs all-round game was excellent.”
Southgate was also asked about rumours that he will sign a new contract. He responded: “We need a point [to qualify] and it would be wrong for my attention to be anywhere else. It’s an irrelevance for me. I’m under contract, I’m very well backed and supported and my focus is just on getting qualification done.”