Soccer-Southgate backs Kane to become England's all-time leading scorer

Soccer Football - World Cup - UEFA Qualifiers - Group I - San Marino v England - San Marino Stadium, Serravalle, San Marino - November 15, 2021 England's Harry Kane with manager Gareth Southgate and assistant manager Steve Holland after being substituted REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini

(Reuters) - England coach Gareth Southgate has backed Harry Kane to overtake Wayne Rooney as the country's all-time leading scorer after the Tottenham Hotspur striker netted four goals in Monday's 10-0 demolition of San Marino in the World Cup qualifiers.

England booked their place in a seventh successive World Cup finals with their win over San Marino as Kane took his international tally to 48 goals and moved joint-third on the all-time list with Gary Lineker.

The 28-year-old, who scored a hat-trick against Albania last week, is five goals behind record scorer Rooney.

"I think that will definitely be one of his goals," Southgate told reporters on Monday.

"And the remarkable thing is we haven't given him the opportunities of nights like tonight (against lower-ranked teams) too often... He understood that, but he has huge personal ambitions as well as the team ones.

"He showed again the clinical nature and the mentality he has got. It is almost not 'if' he is going to break the record but 'when'. And what he might do with it once he is beyond that point."

Kane took his calendar-year haul for England to a new record of 16, became the first England player to score back-to-back hat-tricks since Tommy Taylor in 1957 and the first to score four in a match since Ian Wright against San Marino in 1993.

(Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru; Editing By Shri Navaratnam)

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