THIS was always going to be a big summer for Harry Kane.
At some stage before the start of next season, there is every chance the Premier League’s golden boot winner will walk away from Tottenham after more than a decade in North London and head to pastures new.
Maybe Manchester United or Manchester City? Perhaps, abroad? When you are as good as Kane is, you can afford to pick and choose.
First, though, the leading English striker of his generation will turn his attention to unfinished business with England.
The last World Cup might have finished with him crowned as top scorer, but England’s exit in the semi-finals meant he was not able to celebrate any team success.
Individual honours are all well and good, and Kane would certainly not turn down another golden boot from this summer’s tournament.
But as he edges towards his 30s, England’s captain wants to crown his career with a European Championship winner’s medal to his name.
As the leader of England’s group, Kane clearly feels a responsibility to help cultivate the best possible environment.
He was happy with what he saw in Russia, when a new sense of English pride emerged amongst a youthful group of players. He is even more satisfied with what he has witnessed over the last few days.
“Going into the World Cup we maybe weren’t sure where we were as a team,” said Kane. “But we performed really well and stepped up to the occasion.
“I feel like now we’ve had a bit more experience, players in the biggest games for their club and obviously players who have played in that World Cup have had that experience as well.
“I feel like we are in a good place. We know there is still a lot of hard work that goes into it.
“We don’t just turn up and win the tournament. We haven’t won a tournament as a country for a long time, so there needs to be a lot of good mentality along the whole way.”
Kane’s mentality is not in doubt, with the striker having repeatedly proved himself at the very highest level since he scored within the opening 80 seconds of his England debut against Lithuania in the summer of 2016.
His game has evolved since then, to the point where, last season, he was providing just about as many assists as goals with Spurs.
For England, though, his main role remains as a central striker. Southgate can call on plenty of attacking options, but Kane is unquestionably still his main man.
If he has a good tournament, there is every chance England will prosper too.
“There aren’t many outright number nines in the world at the moment, at that really elite level,” said Southgate. “But we’ve got one. He’s a fantastic player to have in our group.”