English soccer captain Harry Kane could just as easily be playing in an Irish jersey.
Harry Kane is England’s talisman at the ongoing World Cup, registering two assists in England’s opening-day win over Iran in Qatar. However, he is yet to score in the tournament despite England’s 6=2 win over the Iranians.
The Tottenham striker, who finished as top goalscorer at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, can become England’s all-time top goalscorer if he scores three times at the World Cup, which would see him overtake Wayne Rooney – another English player with strong Irish roots.
However, based on his Irish roots, Kane’s international career could have been very different. Kane’s Irish family is actually Gaelic speakers from the Connemara Gaeltacht in the west of Ireland and it doesn’t get more Irish than that.
His father Patrick Kane is from Galway and while Harry and his brother Charlie were born and raised in London, they were brought up in a very Irish environment.
It is understood that Kane spent time visiting his father’s homeland in the west of Ireland before soccer began to take up more of his time.
Still, Co Galway remains proud of Kane and his accomplishments. During the 2018 World Cup, the Connacht Tribune newspaper ran a headline “He’s One of Our Own” with a picture of Kane, and a pub in Letterfrack, Co Galway gave away free pints to customers every time Kane scored a goal.
He had a struggling start to his career at Tottenham Hotspur and the Irish soccer officials who monitor English and Scottish players missed him completely.
They only became aware of him when his agent called and told them his client might like to play for Ireland.
The Irish finally took a look but by then it was too late. The English Football Association snapped him up and he has become a world-class striker, something the Irish team sadly lacks.
The great Irish teams of the Jack Charlton era featured many foreign-born Irish, most notably Ray Houghton who scored that goal against Italy in 1994 that ensured his immortality.
But there are many others, Mick McCarthy who went on to manage, Phil Babb an upstanding defender, and Jason McAteer.
Alas, Harry Kane will never be on the honor roll for Ireland, but Irish people get behind him if he leads the Three Lions to World Cup glory this winter?
Let us know in the comments!
*Originally published in July 2021. Updated in November 2022.