LONDON - England captain Harry Kane has vowed to challenge Cristiano Ronaldo for the Golden Boot as Gareth Southgate’s young lions begin their World Cup assault on Monday. Kane will shoulder England’s goalscoring burden in Russia, starting against Tunisia, but the prolific striker insists the challenge does not faze him.
Ronaldo scored a hat-trick in Portugal’s first game against Spain on Friday and Kane said: "I’ve got a lot of scoring trophies in my career. I’d like to be sitting here with a big gold one in a few weeks. Ronaldo has put me under a bit of pressure. Hopefully I will score a hat-trick and we’ll be level. I can’t wait to get out there and show the world what I’ve got."
Southgate insists his players are ready to repair England’s tarnished reputation following the embarrassments of World Cup 2014 and Euro 2016. "They have a hunger to play brave football," said Southgate. "They want to be a bold and attacking team. That’s how I want them to play.
"That’s why I joined the FA as an Under 21s coach. There was a perception of English football across the world and I wanted to change that. We did that with the youth team. Now we’re looking to do that in the senior team."
Kane will lead the attack alongside Raheem Sterling with Jordan Hen-derson, Dele Alli and Jesse Lingard in midfield. Kieran Trippier and Ashley Young will fill the wing-back roles. However, Sportsmail understands Young’s position at left wing-back is under serious pressure from Danny Rose, who is already being considered for a possible starting role against Panama on Sunday.
Southgate prefers the balance of having a natural left-footer in the position, but concerns over Rose’s fitness after an injury-hit season — and the high temperatures here in Volgograd — mean Young is expected to start. Kyle Walker, John Stones and Harry Maguire should make up the back three and Jordan Pickford will start in goal.