England captain Harry Kane has admitted he felt in "in awe" of Wayne Rooney when they first started sharing a dressing room for their national team.
Kane made his full debut in 2015, by which time Rooney was a 12-year international, having made his debut at 17. And when asked about the greatest England player of his lifetime, Kane neatly sidesteps the Gerrard-Lampard-Scholes debate by picking the Manchester United legend.
"I'd have to say Wayne Rooney to be honest," Kane tells SPORTbible in a one-on-one interview. "Amazing player, to do what he's done for so long, be England's top goalscorer.
"He was right there as I was growing up, as a striker, watching him all the time. I got to play with him for the last two or three years of his England career and it was an honour to be on the pitch with him."
Kane was 10 years old when Rooney tore up Euro 2004, gaining global stardom and a £25.6 million move to Manchester United. Did the Spurs star feel a bit starstruck training alongside a player he looked up to when he was still on the playground?
"Yeah, it was quite weird!" he laughs. "I wouldn't say starstruck, but I was definitely a little bit in awe of one of my heroes growing up.
"I was someone that, once I'm on the pitch, it didn't cross my mind: I did what I needed to do and tried to break into the team at that point; score goals... But we had a really good connection on the pitch straight away.
"However when you're first meeting and talking to him, especially as a young player, it takes a bit of getting used to. But he's a great guy off the pitch, made me feel really at ease and welcome straight away."
Another England striker the Spurs star looks up to is Alan Shearer, but Kane admits he'd rather lift a trophy with his club than chase down Shearer's modern-day league record of 260 goals.
"I'd rather win the Premier League, without a doubt," he says. "Every footballer would say we're in this game to win trophies. Personal records are great along the way if you tick those boxes, but I would take a team trophy over an individual award for sure."
Nonetheless Kane has 143 Premier League goals, plus 32 England goals, meaning he's past halfway to Shearer and Rooney's record tallies despite only turning 27 in the summer. He admits it's tricky not to think about each target.
"It's hard not to sometimes because it's always in the public domain, it's on social media or in the build up to games with England or Spurs - people remind you of these records," he says (as SPORTbible realises we've done just that).
"But it's more something that, along your career, you sort of slowly chip away at. The most important thing for me going into any season is to try and win trophies and try and help my team do that - and obviously if we are going to win, I guess I'm going to have to score some goals along the way...
"So, season by season, as it gets closer, you keep one eye on it, but it's not something that's right in my mind at the minute."
Harry Kane is a Coca-Cola ambassador and stars in the new 'Make Your Home the Home End' campaign giving fans the chance to win their Premier League new season shirt on special packs of Coca-Cola
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