Gareth Southgate has rotated the England captaincy since Wayne Rooney‘s last appearance in international football back in 2016, with Kane leading the side on four occasions.
Harry Kane pictured wearing the captain’s armband during England’s match in Lithuania
Kane has captained England on four occasions as Gareth Southgate rotates the armband – and the Tottenham striker has scored five goals in those matches
England legend Terry Butcher (second right) at the Sporting Memories event in Lowestoft
Given the striker has scored five goals during those matches — which were World Cup qualifiers against Scotland, Slovenia and Lithuania, and a friendly with France — it is clear the armband carries no extra weight.
And Butcher, who was capped 77 times for England and featured in three World Cups, wants the 24-year-old to shoulder the responsibility.
‘I think there will always be pressure on him when you look at the number of goals he’s scored for both Tottenham and for England too. So why not make him captain?’ Butcher told Sportsmail from a Sporting Memories event in Lowestoft.
‘I think he thrives on pressure, I don’t think Harry Kane worries about that. He gets on with it. He has hit the ground running with England and Spurs.
‘If you provide him with chances, he is never afraid to shoot. He isn’t about scoring the perfect goal, he’ll happily score a scruffy goal, a mis-hit goal, do whatever you need to do to get a goal.
‘He also leads the line so well, coming short, helping people go in behind, he is a good team player.
Kane pictured in training on Friday ahead of Tottenham’s trip to Bournemouth this Sunday
The 24-year-old striker has scored 39 goals for club and country already this season
‘I would like him as captain – he is young enough to be in a lot of England squads in the future so why not make him captain. Give him that pressure. He does respond well to that.’
Southgate’s plans for the World Cup — where England will face Tunisia, Panama and Belgium in the group stage — are beginning to take shape.
We are likely to get further clues as to the identity of England’s first-choice line-up when they play friendlies against Holland in Amsterdam on March 23 and Italy at Wembley four nights later.
Butcher is optimistic England can make a statement at the World Cup and won’t repeat their humiliating last-16 exit to Iceland at Euro 2016.
‘With the way the team is shaping up in the friendlies, the way Gareth wants to play, his methods are coming across now,’ said the former centre-half.
‘It is a good and reasonably young squad that is together, knows what they have to do and everybody knows their job. I think we are going into the World Cup very well prepared but the expectation level, for the first time, is low.
England boss Gareth Southgate is forming an idea of how his team will look at the World Cup
A famous picture of a bloodied Butcher during England’s 1989 World Cup qualifier in Sweden
‘It would be nice to win both games [against Holland and Italy] but as long as you can see some progress, cohesion, understanding and a good shape to the team, everyone will buy into it.
‘It is important to have the right shape at club level but Gareth is very astute and knows what he wants. I think he will go with a back three. It is a good idea to introduce that, knowing you can easily revert to a back four.
‘England are now quite pliable, which they have to be – in the past they have stuck to one and changed the personnel rather than the system.
‘That will give England a lot of confidence. In 1990, we knew we could play with a back three.’
One piece of the jigsaw still missing is who will be England’s goalkeeper out in Russia, with Joe Hart’s long-standing position as No 1 being challenged after a lack of regular game time at West Ham this season.
Butcher believes that Stoke City’s Jack Butland should be England’s No 1 at the World Cup
Joe Hart, the regular England No 1, has fallen out of favour at West Ham this season
Stoke’s Jack Butland, Everton’s Jordan Pickford, Southampton’s Fraser Forster and the Burnley duo Nick Pope and Tom Heaton are all in the running.
‘It’s Jack Butland for me,’ said Butcher. ‘He’s young and, yes, he’s made one or two mistakes but he’ll learn from that.
‘He is a bit like Harry Kane, he’s going to be in the England squad for a long time to come, so give him that opportunity.
‘Hart has made mistakes for England, every keeper makes mistakes, but he is not playing on a regular basis and it is time for a new goalkeeper to come in. He is experienced, Butland, but doesn’t have too many England caps.
‘It doesn’t matter that he is playing at Stoke. I played in the 1986 World Cup having got relegated with Ipswich – you park your club form at the hotel door when you turn up for England.’
Butcher in action during one of his 77 England matches – a Wembley friendly against Brazil
Butcher was speaking at a new Sporting Memories group set up at the library in his home town of Lowestoft in Suffolk.
Sporting Memories help older people living with dementia, depression or loneliness unlock memories by talking about sporting moments from their lives.
During his visit, Butcher took a trip down memory lane with the group, most of whom supported Ipswich Town, the club he played for between 1976 and 1986.
‘It’s a get-together where you can talk about memories and it links a lot of people to yesteryear,’ said Butcher. ‘There were some old pictures of me they had dug out from somewhere – all in black and white!
‘There were some old pictures of Gordon Banks, Nobby Stiles, Bobby Charlton, Billy Bremner, all that kind of stuff. 30, 40, 50 years ago. It was good because it’s not just football, but all sports as well.
‘It was good for me to go back to Lowestoft as it’s my home town and everyone knows me. I thoroughly enjoyed it.’
For more information, visit the Sporting Memories website here.
Butcher talks to those who attended the first Sporting Memories event at Lowestoft library
The group is a chance to discuss sporting memories of yesteryear with the aid of pictures, newspaper cuttings and memorabilia
Author: Nancy Parker
Nancy Parker is a five time Emmy Award winning journalist and seven time Emmy nominee who has spent almost twenty five years covering news in South Louisiana. She has anchored every prime time newscast at WVUE FOX8 during her twenty year tenure in New Orleans.