The story of Harry Kane and England begins in the unlikely surroundings of the old clubhouse of now defunct Leyton Wingate FC.
It was here, just across the road from his family home in Walthamstow, north-east London, where he would join his parents and brother Charlie - with their faces painted and three lions on their shirts - to savour Euro 96 on the big screen as a nation partied to the sound of ‘football’s coming home’.
Harry was not even three years old but the Kanes were devoted England fans, and that tournament, and that team featuring Paul Gascoigne, Teddy Sheringham and Alan Shearer, captivated the nation and inspired a generation.
Harry Kane has enjoyed a rapid rise in his career and will now lead England into a major finalInsurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
Twenty-five years later at Wembley Stadium, with Frank Skinner, David Baddiel and Gazza in the crowd, Kane pulled on his England shirt once again and did what he now does, scoring the winner against Denmark.
High in the stands, his brother and his parents, Pat and Kim, were struck numb as their phones lit up with messages from family and friends, with their faces painted and their England shirts on, just as they had done 25 years earlier.
The echoes were surreal but, this time, Harry was the captain of England and about to lead the country into the biggest game since the World Cup final in 1966.
Kane (centre) fired home the extra-time winner against Denmark to set up the clash with Italy
Across the capital at Leyton Orient, they were rejoicing, too. ‘We actually had this guy on loan,’ was the astonished reaction tweeted from Brisbane Road.
Russell Slade watched on TV, recalling the ‘skinny 17-year-old’ he signed on loan from Spurs when he was Orient boss, handing Kane his debut on a mud-heap at Rochdale in League One.
‘You couldn’t see his lovely white boots for the mud,’ said Slade. ‘But that’s his attitude. He came to Orient because he was invested in his own development. He wanted to move forward in terms of his understanding and knowledge.
‘He was very dedicated. He stayed behind after training and practised his free-kicks. He is a classic example of a player who has maximised everything he has got and made sacrifices to get where he wants to be.
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Leyton Orient were rejoicing at Kane's heroics, with the ace having been on loan there aged 17
‘Lots of talent has been wasted over the years because players don’t have the same mental capacity, or something is missing in the make-up. You look at the whole cake when it comes to Harry and there are not many pieces missing.
‘He’s so focused. Single-minded like all the best strikers and he can lose you in a telephone box. He only needs half-a-yard of space to get his shot away.
‘His goal record is phenomenal for club and country and even when he had that spell at the beginning of the tournament you knew he was integral to what Gareth Southgate was trying to do.’
For all his success, Kane has not forgotten Orient and now sponsors their shirts. ‘When I see him scoring goals for England it takes me back 10 years and because of his demeanour and his manner as a person you want him to achieve the very best he can,’ said Slade.
Kane has never forgotten about Orient for all his success and he now sponsors the club's shirts
Perhaps the great appeal of Kane’s success is that it has not come easily. He scored goals at every level through the youth ranks and was known to be a wonderful passer of the ball, but no one hailed him a teen sensation and cleared him a path to first-team football.
Released by Arsenal at nine, he returned to local football, playing on Saturdays for Gladstone Rovers and Sundays for Ridgeway Rovers.
Scout Mark O’Toole, who now works for the Republic of Ireland, told Tottenham to take him on but they declined until Kane scored a hat-trick against them while on a trial with Watford.
Thanks to O’Toole’s perseverance, he joined them at 11. He now