Harry Kane set for England call-up after Roy Hodgson praise
Last updated on .From the section Football
England manager Roy Hodgson has all but confirmed Tottenham striker Harry Kane will be in his squad for next month's double-header with Lithuania and Italy.
Hodgson described the 21-year-old, who has scored 23 goals in 35 games this season, as combining "everything you're looking for in a centre forward".
"Is he worth a place in the squad now? Of course he is," said Hodgson.
Captain Wayne Rooney is likely to continue in attack, despite adopting a new midfield role at Manchester United.
In a lengthy interview, the England boss also said:
- Burnley striker Danny Ings, who has scored five times in his last seven matches, had impressed him and is someone they "need to keep an eye on".
- Liverpool's 19-year-old winger Jordon Ibe would have to "jump over a lot of young players" before he could be considered for the national team, despite his impressive club form.
- West Brom striker Saido Berahino's drink driving conviction was not a concern and that the issue "was closed" after the player had been reprimanded by his club.
- Liverpool forward Raheem Sterling, 20, was getting "more and more mature" with each performance.
Kane, who only made his first Premier League start for Spurs in April, is currently the joint-leading English goalscorer in the top flight, level with QPR's Charlie Austin on 13.
Hodgson said he had already given "a lot of young players" their chance at international level and said Kane "certainly deserves a place in the squad as much as Saido".
But he questioned whether the Spurs star was "worthy" of a place in the first team like Rooney, Danny Welbeck and Daniel Sturridge.
Hodgson on shisha pipes
Hodgson was asked for his thoughts on England midfielder Jack Wilshere, who had been photographed this month with a shisha pipe in is hand while out at a London club. Hodgson said he felt the matter had been dealt with by Arsenal, adding: "It won't occupy a lot of my time with Jack when I see him because we have a football match to win."
What is shisha smoking? It's a way of smoking tobacco, sometimes mixed with fruit or molasses sugar, through a bowl and hose or tube.
Hodgson, 67, also revealed he had once used a shisha pipe. "As an ex-cigar smoker, when I tried it I thought it was a complete nonsense. I couldn't understand who would do it. Apart from a faint fruity taste in your mouth, that was about the end of it. I thought tobacco was smoking and shisha pipes were water with flavour."
"That's something he'll have to prove," added Hodgson. "But unless I give him a chance in the squad, he'll never get a chance to prove that anyway.
"If you can be a star at a top team like Tottenham at the age of 21, then you're doing pretty well."
Rooney's recent goalscoring form has been in stark contrast to Kane's, with the 29-year-old yet to manage a shot on target in 2015.
Rooney has scored six goals in his last six games for England, taking his tally to 46, just three behind leading goalscorer Sir Bobby Charlton.
But, often playing in a central midfield role, he has only managed eight for Manchester United this season, his last coming on 26 December.
Hodgson said he was not concerned about Rooney's form and added that he did not plan to play him as a midfielder.
"I don't necessarily think that will be his best position for us and I don't have any immediate plans to play him there," said Hodgson. "But who knows? I will never say never.
"He's a goalscorer and you always like to see goalscorers in positions where they can get into the box. If you've got several other goalscorers and can afford to use one of them a bit further back, that's fine.
"But he's our top goalscorer in the qualifiers, he's just a couple of goals away from being England's leading goalscorer, so I hope he will continue to score goals for us."
Hodgson, whose team have won all four of their Euro 2016 qualifying matches and are six points clear at the top of Group E, said Rooney was versatile enough to play in various positions for club and country.
"If you are an England player, you do have to accept you wear two hats," added the former Fulham, Liverpool and West Brom boss.
"You have got to be prepared to leave one hat at home and put the other hat on. If you can't do that, you are never going to be any good for me as an England player.
"We can't demand they wear those hats when they go back to their clubs. We have to quite happily accept when they have done their 10 days with us, they put that hat away and they put a new one on.
"This is about England and my job now is to do my job for England."