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Kane hails Pochettino’s impact ahead of World Cup debut

PUBLISHED: 16:00 18 June 2018

England's Harry Kane (left) and Nigeria's Ogenyi Onazi battle for the ball (pic: Nick Potts/PA Images).

England's Harry Kane (left) and Nigeria's Ogenyi Onazi battle for the ball (pic: Nick Potts/PA Images).

PA Wire/PA Images

The 24-year-old praised his Tottenham Hotspur manager ahead of England’s Group G opener with Tunisia

Harry Kane has paid tribute to Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino ahead of his World Cup debut later with England.

The forward will captain the Three Lions in their Group G opener against Tunisia this evening (7pm kick-off).

It will be the first match Kane has played at a World Cup and he reflected on what he was doing when the 2014 edition of the tournament was underway.

“Four years ago, I was watching it on holiday,” Kane told PA Sport at his pre-match press conference on Sunday.

“I played the last six or seven games of the (2013/14) Premier League season under Tim Sherwood and then Mauricio Pochettino came in that summer.

“Mauricio got me fit, in better shape and more powerful. I kicked on from there with a lot of hard work and determination.

“There were players ahead of me at the time. I had to work hard on the training pitch and take the opportunities when they came, so the last few years I’ve proved myself and now I’m here and I can’t wait to get out there and show the world what I’ve got.”

Although Kane would love to impress from a personal point of view, he is focused on the team ahead of tonight’s match.

He insists he won’t worry about his own goalscoring exploits for now despite Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo taking an early lead in the race for the golden boot with a stunning hat-trick against Spain on Friday.

Kane joked: “For sure, he’s put me under a bit of pressure. He’s a fantastic player who had a fantastic game. Hopefully I will score a hat-trick and we’ll both be level.

“But it’s not something I’ll be thinking about until later in the tournament. It’s about concentrating on the team.”

The Spurs forward has a good record at international level and has scored while wearing the captain’s armband in recent England appearances.

Since being officially handed the role at the end of May, Kane feels the extra burden and responsibility has influenced his game in a positive way.

He added: “I’m enjoying it for sure. I’m still the same person and team-mate, but I’ve been scoring a few more goals in training, perhaps.

“I’m proud to be England captain and excited to get going now. Hopefully I’ll continue scoring more goals into this World Cup, for sure.”

Additional reporting by Press Association Sport.

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