KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: Harry Kane hailed an “incredible” team performance after his first-half hat-trick inspired England to a commanding 5-0 victory over Albania in their penultimate World Cup qualifier.

Kane, under pressure after a lack of goals in the league and speculation over his Tottenham future, said: “The first half was an incredible performance. The pressure was on and we needed a result. It’s a great way to get closer to qualifying.

“Whenever you put on an England shirt you want to do everyone proud. Maybe we had a point to prove and we came out on fire. Whenever I get chances I feel like I’m going to score. I could probably have had six on another night.”

England manager Gareth Southgate was equally delighted.

Southgate said: “The first half was fantastic, as well as we’ve played for a long time. It was hard to maintain that.

“We had an edge about us. We needed a collective response after our last game and we addressed that in the first half in particular. We didn’t produce what we should against Hungary but we had a game tonight that puts us on the verge of qualification for the World Cup.

“Harry Kane gave a brilliant centre forward’s performance – held the ball up, played other people in. HIs all-round game was excellent.”

Speculation is rife that Southgate will shortly sign a contract extension once a slot in the World Cup finals has been assured.

He said: “We need a point to qualify and it would be wrong for my attention to be anywhere else. It’s an irrelevance for me. I’m under contract, I’m very well backed and supported and my focus is just on getting qualification done.”

Edoardo Reja, Albania’s Italian manager, said: “England were very determined. Perhaps we were a little too arrogant, we pressed too high and left them too much space.”