‘Kane spot-kicking to World Cup’s Golden Boot shows us VAR will boost his value’

Imagine the carnage Harry Kane could cause if he got some decent service at this World Cup.

This is a striker who is going to spot-kick his way to the Golden Boot.

At the risk of asking what the Romans did for us, other than the two poacher’s efforts from corner routines, the fluke off his heel and the hat-trick of penalties, Kane has found it tough to find scoring chances so far.

For his all-round work, dropping deep and winning countless free-kicks, and for his exemplary prowess from 12 yards, he has been given the official Man of the Match award in every game he has played.

To even think there should be more to come from England’s captain seems faintly ridiculous.

But aside from those six successes, Kane has only had three attempts on goal — two in the Colombia match and one against Tunisia.

Gareth Southgate’s system, in which the Tottenham striker is obliged to regularly drop deeper than he would for his club, is one that gives England greater control of a game but it is not producing a glut, or even many, chances from open play.

But as long as they continue to harvest penalties and find success from set-pieces, who cares?

Make no mistake, England can have very few complaints about the refereeing here.

They have been awarded three penalties — there were only five awarded in the entire 64 games of the 2006 World Cup.

Kane’s opening spot-kick against Panama was England’s first at a World Cup tournament since David Beckham’s 2002 winner against Argentina.

The use of VAR has emboldened referees when it comes to giving penalties.

There have been 28 so far, a tournament record by a country mile and there are still eight games to be played. The average total over the last five World Cups has been 11.

The VAR system might do for penalty-takers what cricket’s DRS has done for spinners.

As a peerless penalty-taker, Kane’s value is probably more than most imagine. The value of such men in the game will be at a premium and his new £200,000-a-week contract is good business from Spurs’ point of view.

Assuming, touch wood, he avoids any lengthy injury absences, Kane – who turns 25 in three weeks’ time – has at least another three more international tournaments in him.

Throw in the qualifiers, the UEFA Nations League games and friendlies and he must be an odds-on favourite to overhaul Wayne Rooney at the top of the England scoring charts.

With 19 goals to his name so far, he needs another 35 to pass Rooney. He might get those in penalties alone.

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While England continue to profit from set-pieces, the reliance on Kane sniffing out second balls and converting penalties is fine.

But the realistic ambitions of this team have changed, whether they care to express them or not.

A quarter-final against Sweden to be followed by a semi-final against Russia or Croatia is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to make a World Cup final.

Even if the likes of Dele Alli, Raheem Sterling and Jesse Lingard cannot carve out openings for Kane, England can still book a date in Moscow on July 15.

But it would be a hell of a lot easier if they did.

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