Harry Kane described it as a dream come true after England stumbled to qualification for the World Cup.
Kane poked home Kyle Walker’s cross in the fourth minute of stoppage-time to give Gareth Southgate’s side a scrappy 1-0 victory over Slovenia on Thursday and secure their place in Russia with one match still to play.
His late intervention not only spared the team’s blushes after a dreary display that offered little encouragement for next summer’s tournament, it provided the perfect ending to Kane’s night, which had begun with him leading the side out as captain.
“I’m extremely proud, not just for myself but for the team, for the nation,” Kane said.
“We should enjoy tonight, it’s no easy thing getting to a World Cup. There are some big countries around the world that are struggling. I’m delighted, the team are delighted.
“To lead that team out and to have the game pan out like it did, as a striker you dream of that kind of moment, scoring a last-minute winner, so for that to happen here at Wembley is incredible.”
Kane had been largely starved of service by a stodgy England performance but such is the 24-year-old’s brilliant form, he still managed to extend his streak to 14 goals in nine matches.
England’s fans were not so much angry at their team’s limp display as bored, with some sections of the home support more interested in paper aeroplanes, which were being thrown towards the pitch.
“It’s not just hard on me, it’s hard on everyone. We just have to stick together,” Kane said.
“We were out there talking a few times, trying to keep each other going, to keep the pressure on in the second half. I thought we did that well.
“They got tired, they came out a bit trying to get the win and we took advantage of that. We had a few chances and I was happy to put one away.”