England captain Harry Kane hopes to spread a “broader message” to make a “step forward” at the Qatar World Cup, where the striker and nine other skippers will wear anti-discrimination armbands.
The Three Lions forward has joined with captains from the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and Wales as part of the OneLove initiative.
As England prepare to face Italy and Germany in the Nations League, Kane’s decision to promote the movement to empower inclusion and diversity was the main talking point.
A distinctive heart-adorned armband will show England’s stand against discriminatory practice in Qatar, where same-sex relationships and promotion of same-sex relationships are criminalised.
“I talked to some captains on the human rights issue in Qatar, surely if we act together we can bring a broader message,” Kane told reporters.
“The players can do a lot given the importance of the World Cup, we hope to make a step forward on this front.”
England cannot reach the Nations League finals after disappointing in Group C1, with Gareth Southgate’s side having gone winless in their first four games.
Defeat to Italy, who played out a goalless draw in the reverse fixture at Molineux, would condemn England to relegation on Friday and Kane knows it is vital his side must return to winning ways.
“Certainly determination characterises us, we have to get back to playing well,” he added. “For four years we have been formidable and we know that the last few matches in June were not positive, but we are preparing to better manage the two months remaining until the World Cup.
“Tomorrow’s match will not be easy at all, but we want to win this race to also improve for the World Cup.”
Landed in Milan. #threelions pic.twitter.com/NOLTLOf5e3
— England (@England) September 22, 2022
Italy will not feature at the World Cup in November after missing out on a second straight edition of the global competition following play-off defeat to North Macedonia.
With Germany to follow for England after their clash in Milan, Kane insists the challenges against Roberto Mancini’s side and Hansi Flick’s team will provide a marker for the upcoming World Cup.
“We played against the best teams and tomorrow we will play again against one of them,” he continued.
“Tomorrow’s match will be very useful for the World Cup, we must try to impose our game and it will help us to practice at our best.
“We talked within the team about this possible relegation, but there are still two games. Relegation is possible, but it must not affect the determination with which we will take the field.”