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Gareth Southgate: I would have had Wayne Rooney’s family on the phone if I left Harry Kane on against San Marino


Gareth Southgate joked he would have had “Wayne Rooney’s family on the phone” if he had left Harry Kane on to score any more goals in England’s 10-0 rout of San Marino.

Kane scored four times in the thrashing to move level with Gary Lineker on 48 international goals and just five behind England’s all-time leading scorer Rooney.

Tottenham striker Kane could have added even more to his tally if he hadn’t been taken off with nearly half an hour of the match remaining.

“If we left him on another half an hour, we would have had Wayne Rooney’s family on the phone,” joked England manager Southgate in his interview with ITV.

“He is a phenomenal goalscorer, he hasn’t had the opportunity in the games where there have been a lot of goals available and we wanted to give him the chance tonight and he took it really well.”

Reflecting on his achievement of matching Lineker’s 48 goals, Kane said: “Fantastic. Every time I wear an England shirt I am proud and when I score goals it is one of the greatest feelings I can have in my career.

“Nice to be among those names and hopefully we can keep them coming.”

The result ensured England finished top of Group I, six points clear of second-placed Poland.

While there were some grumbles about the standard of opposition in front of them for their final group game, Southgate was impressed with his side over the entire campaign.

“The qualification was earned away in Budapest, Warsaw and Albania.

“I have to credit all our players and staff for a very good year. We cannot do anything about the level of opposition but the mentality and the way they applied themselves was terrific.”

Emile Smith Rowe scored his first goal on his maiden start for England while Conor Gallagher also came on for his debut in the second half.

Emile Smith Rowe celebrates scoring

Image credit: Getty Images

With eight matches to go until the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, Southgate says he will now take some time to reflect on the choices ahead.

“I haven’t really thought that far ahead, we have had 19 matches this season and there is so much to take in,” he said.

“This is a good opportunity for us to look at the last few months and what experience the younger players need before the World Cup.”

On Arsenal’s Smith Rowe he added: “I thought Emile all week has given a good account of himself, his tight control is excellent, he is inventive in his play, and he has to continue what he is doing. We finished with a young side and you can see a lot of promise for the future.”



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