Harry Kane is brimming with pride at leading England’s unexpected tilt at World Cup glory and wants to inspire the next generation by going all the way to the final.
The Tottenham striker will become the first man to captain the Three Lions in a semi-final since Terry Butcher in 1990 when he takes the armband against Croatia on Wednesday – and the significance of the moment is not lost on him.
Kane was not even born when Sir Bobby Robson’s side lost in agonising fashion to West Germany, a penalty shootout in Turin, but knows his place in a lineage that goes back to the country’s only tournament victory on home soil 52 years ago.
He has met the hero of the 1966 final, Sir Geoff Hurst, and knows he could be just a week away from emulating an achievement many feared would never be repeated.
“It’s amazing to meet any heroes from ’66 and it gives you so much inspiration, obviously it’s been a long time since England have done well in a major tournament,” he said.
“As a player and as a professional I know that I have a job, on and off the pitch, to inspire people and inspire kids watching this tournament. It’s amazing because I was one of those kids growing up who wanted to play for England. So to be here now, leading this team out, I’m so proud.
“No-one wants to go home. Everyone wants to finish the job and we are excited to try and do that. We want to be here till the end. We are one step closer to what is the biggest game in football as a professional.”