This Black Friday, when Team USA plays England in the World Cup, I think a lot of Americans will have a common thought.For the first time they will take a closer look at England captain Harry Kane – one of the greatest living goalscorers – and ponder some version of The damn guy?
This is logical. Harry Kane is not one to impress immediately. He’s not a cool guy. He likes to play golf. He likes Tom Brady. He expressed interest in pursuing a second career as a field goal scorer. He has known his wife since childhood. They have three children. When he scores, he kisses his ring finger. He dances badly. He looked thoroughly, very white.his name is Harry Kane.
but. . . I. . . love him? First of all, it’s for a reason you might have already guessed: he played for Tottenham, a team I support, and watching a guy score tons of goals for your team year after year Balls are the only way to truly human emotion. I’ve also lived in London for the past three years and Benedict-Arnold has inadvertently made himself an England fan. (I really like the song “It’s Coming Home.” It’s stuck in my head right now.) But I swear, there’s more than basic loyalties here.
My first sports fan was Antoine Walker in 1995–96, and that trauma stays with you forever. I’ve always been drawn to doomed people, weirdos and fuckers. Traditionally great normcore athletes, the ones who blow you away with their efficacy – I usually have a hard time getting any real feelings for them. For me, something very simple and stupid happened, that if I could see myself in their failures, then I would like them. What human drama is there for a person who goes to work day in and day out and gets work done?
I had and do have other crushes on Tottenham. Those are easier for me to defend. Like Dele Alli, the quiet genius is so mercurial that he now plays in Istanbul. Or Dejan Kulusevski, a Macedonian-Swede who appeared to break through defenders by tripping his own feet. But Kane is my ballast. I can understand if you judge me for this. I do not mind. I also judge myself sometimes.
To be sure, there are some mitigating factors in Kane’s fandom. What can I say now, if I really want to try to convince you that my worship is right.On the one hand, Kane were able Scored a very nice goal. The 29-year-old seems to be doing less and less, but he can definitely get the ball out of the box with his feet. He’s also gotten better as a passer over the years, somehow. I think his platonic ideal sequence is that he catches the ball in the middle of the court, looks up, and takes a bold long shot. He has grace, he has vision.
But let’s be honest: yeah, most of the time, he looks awkward, awkward, awkward. His goal against Leeds before the World Cup break was a telling document. The ball bounces from the corner. He made a good enough contact to create enough space and then, from short distance, smashed it roughly. His enemies say he is a poacher. an opportunist. He’s more than that, of course, but he is, yes, too.
All of which makes him the perfect fit for this England team, which has a ton of dynamic talent (have you seen James Maddison’s BoohooMAN collection? ! ), but Gareth Southgate coached out of extreme fear. Southgate appeared to want to win the game, but only barely. If you want to do that, you better make sure you have someone who always changes his chances, no matter how he does it, no matter which way they come.
Last summer in London, my girlfriend and I left our 6-week-old baby at home with a nanny before heading to Wembley Stadium to watch the Euro 2020 semi-final. England against Denmark. We were lucky enough to get tickets, we felt reckless to leave our brand new baby behind, we thought the least we could do was really lean on the bit. We bought England shirts and fancy IT’S COMING HOME bucket hats, and we sang all the songs: “Harry Maguire, Harry Maguire, he drinks vodka, he drinks Jäger, he has a fucking big head.”
When we took our seats, Stone Island’s big man and uncomfortably tall fade that had apparently sneaked in and taken up our general seating space wasn’t amused at all. I tried to nudge them over and they just kept saying ‘it’s the England semi-final, man’ like that explained everything. One of them also kept saying “yippie-kay-yay” which didn’t help at all. I took a selfie of the Stone Island brothers, all ignoring me, and sent it to a friend who said it looked like a still from the movie “Seth Rogen Gets Pranks In England”. I did start thinking about why I would trade allegiance from one failed empire to another, and I did think about how creepy it is to support a country in general. Then England scored and me and the Stone Island guys jumped up and hugged each other.
We didn’t leave full overtime. We can no longer ignore our guilt. We had to go home to find the aforementioned kid. So in the 104th minute, when Kane took the penalty, we were not actually on the pitch. We listen to static radios at home in the cab. We heard Kane missed the penalty. This is impossibleI think. he is automatic. Then we hear him bury the rebound. That’s all. That’s what should happen. Fortunately, exasperatingly, with sheer bumbling determination, he’ll get it done.
Maybe, at my age, I want more than I’m willing to admit. In a chaotic world, that safe known entity feels really good. Yes, Harry Kane is objectively boring. I will die on any mountain he builds.