London: Tottenham Hotspur breakthrough star Harry Kane has proved that he is ready to make the step up to international football, England manager Roy Hodgson declared on Thursday.
Tottenham academy graduate Kane, 21, has taken English football by storm this season with 23 goals in 35 appearances, including a pair of stunning braces in Spurs` recent victories over Chelsea and Arsenal.
Hodgson will not name his next squad for over a month, but he has already seen enough of Kane and uncapped Burnley striker Danny Ings to know that they deserve a chance with the national team.
“Is he (Kane) worth a place in the squad now? Of course he is,” Hodgson told journalists at a London hotel.
“We bought a lot of young players in during my time. We had Saido Berahino in the last squad. He certainly deserves a place in the squad as much as, say, Saido did.
“If your question is, `Is he worthy of a place like Wayne Rooney, (Danny) Welbeck and (Daniel) Sturridge, whoever?` Well, that`s something he`ll have to prove.
“But unless I give him a chance in the squad, he`ll never get a chance to prove that anyway.”
Expanding on Kane`s strengths, Hodgson added: “Really, he combines everything that you`re looking for in a centre-forward.
“Sometimes we`ve had to split centre-forwards up — this one is a target who doesn`t run behind; this one runs behind, but he`s not much of a target.
“With Harry, and with Ings, you`ve got the best of both worlds because both do both jobs.”
With Sturridge back in the Liverpool team after months on the sidelines through injury and his club-mate Raheem Sterling also in good form, Hodgson has a wealth of attacking options at his disposal.
One potential option open to him would be to withdraw Rooney, his captain, into midfield, where he has been playing of late for Manchester United.But Hodgson said that he still thinks of the 29-year-old, who is England`s third-highest all-time goal-scorer with 46 goals, as a forward.
“Wayne`s the sort of player, he can play anywhere,” Hodgson said.
“You couldn`t surprise me if one day he played right-back and did very well. He`s a very, very good footballer.
“We`ll only use him in the position that suits our team and I don`t know that will be centre midfield, where he plays for Manchester United because they`ve got other players and that`s where they think he does the best job for them, and I fully respect that.
“But at the moment 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. But who knows? I will never say never.”
Hodgson added: “He`s a goal-scorer, isn`t he? So one always likes to see one`s goal-scorers in positions where they can get into the box and in and around the box.
“He`s our top goal-scorer in the qualifiers, he`s just a couple of goals (four) away now from being England`s leading goal-scorer, so I hope he will continue to score goals for us.”
Hodgson also revealed that West Bromwich Albion striker Berahino, who received his first senior England call-up last November, has been spoken to by the Football Association after he was banned for drink-driving.
“It`s been dealt with,” Hodgson said.
“He has been reprimanded and as far as we are concerned, the matter is closed. It is up to him to put that behind him and show with his future behaviour that he has taken the reprimand on board.”
England host Lithuania in their next 2016 European Championship qualifying match on March 27 before tackling Italy in a friendly in Turin four days later.