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Gareth Southgate has backed Harry Kane to follow in Robert Lewandowski’s footsteps and become a golden oldie.
Bayern Munich and Poland star Lewandowski is still banging in the goals for club and country despite just turning 33.
And Southgate reckons Kane, who is five years younger, will go on performing at the top of his game when he hits his thirties too.
But the England boss has challenged his young guns to start breathing down Kane's neck and put him under more pressure for his starting spot.
Southgate said: “In terms of Kane there is every chance he will go as long as possible because he’s an incredible professional.
“Normally those things are determined by how you look after your body, what you eat, how you prepare.
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“He’s going to do that and that’s going to give him the best chance. You never know what circumstance can happen but he will give himself the best chance.
“In terms of young players the challenge is there because it’s possible for someone to come along who can be better.
“The development of those young players will be important. We talk about competition within the squad but you need that in every position.
“There’s no reason why young players can’t come in provide that. That’s the challenge for them.”
Captain Kane is in a league of his own when it comes to England strikers right now.
Leeds star Patrick Bamford went scoreless on his debut against Hungary as Kane to came on to score his 40th England goal from the spot.
Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin withdrew from the squad with a thigh injury, and Aston Villa’s Ollie Watkins has only scored once for his country.
But Southgate sees emerging talents like Manchester United youngster Mason Greenwood as potential future competition too.
He said: “With Mason, I suppose we are still waiting to see whether he will be a 9 or whether his strongest position might be as 7 or 11 or maybe a 10.
“The import thing is he’s playing in big matches and developing well and is clearly one of the best finishers in the country already.”
Tottenham star Kane faces strike rival Lewandowksi in tonight’s World Cup qualifier in Warsaw just 13 goals behind Wayne Rooney’s England record of 53.
But he’s way behind the Bayern ace, who has 69 goals for Poland – and way behind him when it comes to goalscoring at club level too.
Former Borussia Dortmund striker Lewandowski has scored 282 goals in Europe’s big five leagues compared to Kane’s 247.
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And while he’s been around longer, his minutes per goal and shot conversion rates are better too.
Southgate reckons the two of them, along with Romelu Lukaku, are the world’s three best out and out strikers.
And he admits his side are taking special measures to combat Lewandowski's threat.
Southgate said: “I see a lot of comparables with Lewandowksi and Kane in the way they come deeper, play team-mates in, play those excellent passes as well as their finishing capabilities and their range of finishing.
“There are without doubt similarities. Those three are toward the top of their game.
"When you're preparing to play an opponent you have to pay that little bit more attention to their individual attributes.”
- Harry Kane
- England Football Team
- Gareth Southgate
- Wayne Rooney
- World Cup
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