21 September 2023

Classy Kane and brilliant Bellingham – England duo making waves in Europe

21 September 2023

Harry Kane and Jude Bellingham were both on target in the Champions League on Wednesday night.

Kane struck from the penalty spot in Bayern Munich’s 4-3 victory over Manchester United, while Bellingham prodded home a stoppage-time winner for Real Madrid against Champions League debutants Union Berlin.

Here, the PA news agency looks at the England internationals’ astonishing beginnings for their respective clubs.

How has Kane started?

After drawing a blank as a second-half substitute in Bayern’s surprise German Super Cup defeat to RB Leipzig, Kane, 30, has been virtually unstoppable.

The £100million striker netted on his maiden Bundesliga outing in a 4-0 win at Werder Bremen before bagging a brace in a 3-1 victory against Augsburg.

He scored the opener in an entertaining 2-2 draw with Bayer Leverkusen last Friday before netting from the spot against United – the club that wanted to sign him from Tottenham.

“Manchester United are crying out for a centre forward and whatever it would have cost they should have got him,” United’s former midfielder Paul Scholes told TNT Sports. “If you had the money to buy one player or three, I would have bought Harry Kane all day long.”

How has Bellingham played?

Birmingham-born Bellingham, 20, has six goals and one assist in his opening six matches since his £88.5million move from Borussia Dortmund.

He struck on his debut against Athletic Bilbao before netting a brace away at Almeria and then scoring the only goal in a 1-0 victory at Celta Vigo.

Bellingham scored a stoppage-time winner against Getafe in his first Bernabeu outing – emulating Cristiano Ronaldo by netting in his opening four LaLiga games – before delivering another late goal, this time in his first Champions League outing for Los Blancos. His mark of six is one more than the rest of the Madrid squad combined this season.

What has the reaction been?

Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has trusted Bellingham from the get-go, preferring him to Luka Modric and Toni Kroos, who have just three league starts between them.

Speaking after Bellingham’s heroics on Wednesday night, Ancelotti said: “He’s smarter than others when attacking from the second line. He has this quality and he’s making the most of it.”

Bellingham has already won over the Real Madrid fans, who serenaded him with The Beatles’ classic ‘Hey Jude’ after his late winner against Getafe, and again on Wednesday night.

“I have goosebumps speaking about it,” said Bellingham. “You don’t understand how big this club is until you are here. I have now got that honour and I will wear it with pride.”

Kane’s brilliant start has also won him fans – not least in Bayern boss Thomas Tuchel.

“I love him,” said the former Chelsea manager. “He is a fantastic guy, fantastic player and huge personality.

“He is a clinical finisher, he controls a lot of balls, and he is so intelligent around the box. It has been a very good start from him. I am super happy.”

How does their form compare to England’s other stars?

With 11 goals and three assists between them, no other attacking member of Gareth Southgate’s England squad is performing better for their clubs this term.

Bukayo Saka, Jarrod Bowen and Callum Wilson have all netted on three occasions this season, while Raheem Sterling, James Ward-Prowse, James Maddison, Eddie Nketiah and Dominic Solanke have all scored twice.

Kane also has more England minutes since the Three Lions’ European Championship final defeat to Italy in the summer of 2021 than anyone else. Kane has played 2,016 minutes for Southgate, with Bellingham (1,540 mins) fifth behind Harry Maguire (1,927 mins) Declan Rice (1,889 mins) and Jordan Pickford (1,669 mins).

Kane and Bellingham were also on target in England’s impressive 3-1 win against Scotland last week.

What’s next?

Kane will be back in action when Bayern host Bochum in the Bundesliga on Saturday before he returns to Champions League action next month in Copenhagen. Bellingham will be bidding to help Real maintain their 100 per cent start to the season in his first Madrid derby, at Atletico, on Sunday.

They will join forces for England in a friendly with Australia at Wembley on October 13 before a European Championship qualifier against Italy at the same venue four days later.

Meanwhile, Kane also revealed he will have one eye on Tottenham’s Premier League fixture versus Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium this weekend.

“They have started the season well, so of course, Tottenham (will win),” he joked in an interview on CBS Sports with former Arsenal forward Thierry Henry – who earlier said the England captain “looked good in red and white”.

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