“He’s better than Robert Lewandowski. No-one is thinking about Lewandowski any more.”
Such has been Harry Kane’s extraordinary start to life at Bayern Munich, that when BBC Sport spoke to fans of the German giants this week, it seemed as if they had already moved on from one of the club’s greatest strikers.
Expectation has followed Kane since his arrival, and so too, it seems, have records. Since his move from Tottenham last August, the England captain has scored 28 goals and provided eight assists in only 27 games in all competitions.
Of those goals, 24 have come in the Bundesliga – the most scored by a player in his first 20 appearances in the league – while he also became the first player to score a hat-trick in his first Der Klassiker appearance, the match between Bayern and Borussia Dortmund.
Kane, 30, needs 18 more goals in the 14 games remaining to beat Poland striker Lewandowski’s single-season Bundesliga record of 41.
“I’m always extremely proud to have those sort of records,” Kane told BBC Sport. “It’s not something I set out to do at the start but once you hear about them and once people are talking about them, it of course means you’re doing something really well.
“If you’d have told me I was going to do that at the start of the year, of course I’d have taken it – so I’m really happy from that sense, but as always, we try and push and try and see how far we can get.”
Had Kane decided to stay in England, there would have been a chance for him to add the title of record Premier League goalscorer to his list of individual accolades, but he moved to Germany in search of success with a team used to winning trophies.
For 11 consecutive seasons, Bayern have been crowned Bundesliga champions – and so the German giants seemed as close to guaranteed silverware for one of the world’s best strikers.
But with Bayer Leverkusen so far undefeated and two points clear at the top, there are some on social media joking about the backfiring of Kane’s “safe bet” switch in search of that elusive title.
He is set to have a key role to play as Bayern face Xabi Alonso’s surprise league leaders Leverkusen on Saturday in a match crucial to the title race.
Daniel, a Bayern supporter, told BBC Sport: “I think he is a great player and one of the greatest strikers of all time. He’s playing differently than I expected because he helps the team a lot. Maybe I underestimated him.
“He’d better bring us some trophies! Now we have two of those Tottenham players, hopefully we won’t finish second this year.
“For the league, it is more interesting. You have to appreciate the work Leverkusen are doing. Fingers crossed for Saturday and some Harry Kane goals.”
Bayern have 50 points from 20 games and have only had more than that at this stage of the season in three of their 11 consecutive title-winning campaigns.
Kane added: “I’ve made it clear that I want to be winning team trophies and that’s one of the things that’s missing from my career so far.
“But as always I’m not going to panic, either way I’m going to keep my head down, keep doing my best for the team and hopefully that starts with a good win on Saturday.”
Helping children with their mental resilience
It is Kane’s experience, the peaks and troughs of his career to date, that keep him level-headed.
The glorious moments – becoming England captain, winning the World Cup Golden Boot, his record-breaking time at Tottenham and now the trophy chase at Bayern – would not have been possible without the struggles.
Kane was released by Arsenal’s academy aged eight, rejected by Tottenham on his first trial, and struggled during loan spells at Norwich and Leicester City which left him questioning whether he had what it took to reach the top.
He wants to put that experience, and his influence as England captain, to good use with his work on children’s mental health with the Harry Kane Foundation.
“I used to look up to players like David Beckham. Now I’m in that situation – there are a lot of young boys and girls looking up to me,” he said.
“You listen to your role models. I would have done anything Beckham said when I was a kid.”
On Tuesday, during Children’s Mental Health Week, Kane spoke remotely to pupils from Manor School, Northamptonshire, about building resilience and emotional wellbeing through his foundation’s partnership with UK charity Bounce Forward.
Working alongside his wife Kate, and having looked at the social media-obsessed world their four children are “coming into”, Kane wants to “help a lot of the younger generation in their mental health journey”.
He explained: “When I was younger, being released from one club and having setbacks like that, and then when I was an older teenager, 17, 18, going out on loan, living on my own for the first time, things not going so well at some of those loans, that’s when I look back.
“I had to show a lot of strength, a lot of self-belief, a lot of resilience in those moments. I was lucky to have a good family around me, a good girlfriend at the time who’s my wife now, so I was able to get things off my chest and that allowed me to focus on what I needed to do, work harder and ultimately turn into the player I am now.
“Everyone goes through different moments in their life, ups and downs, it’s just when you have those downs you don’t let things get carried away, you have to know or learn things to do to help you in those moments.”
Harry Kane was speaking to BBC Sport’s Alex Howell.
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