THEY do not hope to win major trophies at Bayern Munich and Real Madrid — they absolutely expect it.
And the fact that England’s two finest footballers, Harry Kane and Jude Bellingham, are now experiencing that supreme winning mentality at two of Europe’s biggest clubs is good news for Gareth Southgate.
Harry Kane has made an incredible start to life at Bayern MunichCredit: GETTY
Jude Bellingham has made a rip-roaring start to life at Real MadridCredit: GETTY
Kane and Bellingham will be pivotal for England’s Euro 2024 hopesCredit: Getty
Bellingham, 20, has made a lightning start to Bernabeu life — leading LaLiga’s scoring charts with five goals in four games and winning Player of the Month at the first time of asking in Spain’s top flight.
Three Lions skipper Kane is so impressed with the ex-Borussia Dortmund star’s storming progress in the Spanish capital that he is concerned his international team-mate could be a rival for the European Golden Boot this season.
Kane has netted three league goals in as many appearances for Bayern ahead of tonight’s Euros qualifier against Ukraine in Poland, as England close in on securing a place at next summer’s finals.
And Kane, 30, said: “I’ve seen Jude’s great start in LaLiga. He’s managed to score a few goals so he’s competing with me for the most goals this season!
“It is too early for me to mention the European Golden Boot to him yet.
“But if we get to March and he is still up there with me, I might have a few words.
“It’s great to see. He’s an extremely good player, a great person, very mature for his age so it’s great to see him doing well.
“We haven’t spoken about the German league too much.
“He asked me how I’m getting on with the language because he found it difficult.
“But we want as many of our England players as possible to be playing at the highest level.
“Bayern Munich and Real Madrid are two of the biggest clubs in the world without question.
“We’ve got great players who have played in big moments and big occasions in our squad — not just for the national team but for their clubs.
“Me and Jude being at these clubs will only add to that. I think it adds another level of confidence to the team, knowing that we’re all playing in those types of games.”
After failing to win a single trophy at Tottenham, Kane is now grappling with the expectation of winning every week at Bayern. He said: “It’s definitely a different pressure compared to what I felt at Spurs.
“Of course, we wanted to win things at Spurs but if you went a couple of games without winning then it wasn’t a disaster.
“The feeling at Bayern is that you have to win every game.
“We won the first two league games 4-0 and 3-1 and there was still talk about not being too happy with the way we played.
Harry Kane and Jude Bellingham are two of England’s brightest stars and and lighting up the world stageCredit: Getty
“That’s part and parcel of being at one of the biggest clubs in the world.
“But we’ve had a good start and I am enjoying feeling those different emotions and that’s part of the reason that I wanted to go.
“And we start the Champions League campaign when we get back, which Bayern expect to win — or have a good chance of winning. So you’re going into those games with maybe a different feeling to what I’ve had in the past.
“I believe playing for Bayern will make me a better player.
“Whether I win things or not, the decision came down to putting me in those situations.
“With Bayern Munich, sometimes we expect them to win because they have won the league for the last 11 years.
“But in my short period there is still a lot of pressure to win these trophies. We have not won the German Cup for a few years.
“And we have not won the Champions League for a few years so there is definitely a lot to gain and a lot of pressure to take.
“Just the experiences of having title runs and cup runs and a Champions League run will only add — hopefully — to handling pressure in certain situations.
“If we are going to win anything with England, we are going to have to deal with that.
Harry Kane admits the recent success of Gareth Southgate’s troops has added pressureCredit: REUTERS
“Me, being captain, I want to put myself in that position as much as possible. I set my standards as high as they can possibly go.”
With Bellingham having previously lit up the Bundesliga with Dortmund and Kane now banging in the goals at Bayern, Kane now believes there is a renewed respect for English football in Germany and across Europe.
He said: “I’m not too sure about whether they fear us.
“I think in recent games and in the last Euros, the way we performed . . . I think we’ve earned the respect of Germany, 100 per cent.
“I think we’ve earned the respect of a lot of nations around the world. Individually, with me and Jude having played in Germany, but I think our biggest strength is as a collective.
“And when other countries look at us, that’s our biggest positive.”
Kane’s fellow Three Lions stalwart Jordan Henderson, 33, faces the prospect of protests from England’s LGBTQ+ fans tonight.
That follows his controversial move from Liverpool to Al-Ettifaq in Saudi Arabia, where homosexuality is illegal. And Kane said: “I think every England fan is entitled to their opinions.
“The majority of the England fans will be behind the team and, once the game starts, will be fully behind everyone. Jordan is a good friend of mine and a great person.
“He has a job to do — as we all have — and that’s where his focus will be.”
Jordan Henderson will face protests from England’s LGBTQ+ fans tonightCredit: GETTY
Meanwhile, Southgate was quick to pile praise on Bellingham ahead of the Ukraine clash.
Southgate said: “He has a huge maturity. He has a good emotional intelligence.
“He has had to go into a dressing room and an interesting dynamic where some world-class players are there and he is there to ultimately take their place.
“But knowing him, he will have approached them off the pitch with huge respect and will have gone into the training sessions and the games ready to compete and show what a good player he is.
“He found that balance brilliantly when he first joined us and I have no doubt that is what has happened while he has been there.
“He has had to show a slightly different side because he has played a little higher with them losing Benzema and his game is suited to forward running and arriving in the box and the nice thing from our point of view is that he is scoring more goals, which is great.”
Bellingham is certain to start in midfield tonight along with Jordan Henderson and Declan Rice as he looks to continue his red-hot form.
Southgate added: “I’m not completely surprised because of the personality he has and the calmness he has, coupled with the competitiveness, you never know how it is going to go because you don’t know how the team is going to play and whether the role you get at the start is going to suit you.
“For us, we are blessed. We have got several very very good players so it is exciting.”