Refreshing Kane is England's new hope
(Wayne Rooney 6, Danny Welbeck 45, Raheen Sterling 58, Harry Kane 73)
Harry Kane couldn't be more of a new hope if he carried a light-sabre.
The England striker's goal against Lithuania yesterday morning (Singapore time) at Wembley gives a jaded nation something it had long forgotten.
His meteoric rise from a Tottenham apprentice to a masterful header at Wembley is a giddying journey that must continue to Euro 2016.
His contribution extends beyond the goal. He brings the hype back to England.
Before Roy Hodgson, hype and English football were easy bedfellows in a country that boasted the self-proclaimed best league in the world.
But the bubble was burst not once but twice, first at Euro 2012 and again at last year's World Cup. England no longer dared to dream.
Hodgson was a nightmare on easy street, coasting through qualifying campaigns before putting on tournament horror shows.
Ever since Brazil, the Three Lions have been waiting to exhale, looking for a chance to breathe again. A comatose campaign was in urgent need of a pulse.
In Kane, England have found a faint heartbeat.
Those who assume that a single, headed goal is not a cause for such hyperbole were not present at the humiliation of Belo Horizonte.
Italy and Uruguay were routine defeats, but the 0-0 draw with Costa Rica was the real nadir, the moment English football flat-lined.
The ongoing, zombie campaign of Euro 2016 qualification only prolonged the pain, a series of dull victories over continental minnows.
Instead of death by a thousand paper cuts, it was death by indifference. Few people cared.
Thank God, then, for the glorious exception.
Kane has already illuminated a dreary domestic competition with 29 goals. He needed just 79 seconds and one touch to rouse the European expedition.
The 21-year-old will score more accomplished goals than the nod down from Raheem Sterling's cross. The tidy finish came against Lithuania, whose only role is to further undermine Uefa's ridiculously bloated competition.
And the Three Lions' history is littered with the chewed-out carcasses of one-hit wonders. Even now, the jury is still out on Sterling, Ross Barkley, Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott.
But the romance is real. So is the cause for optimism.
Kane seems different. His formidable physique and slick movement evoke memories of Alan Shearer and Teddy Sheringham in their Euro 2006 prime, but the better comparison belongs in another sport.
Just as Ian Thorpe's freakish shape made him a human fin, Kane's body appears to be the work of a meticulous engineer designing the perfect specimen for his designated sport.
He's more than a kid in a man's body. He's a man in a machine's body, flawlessly crafted to score goals.
Kane is blessed with the shoulders of a quarterback, a ballerina's turn and the sticking power of Velcro.
For good measure, he's also blessed with a chameleonic temperament. He's ferocious around the penalty box and refreshingly humble around the press box.
In some ways, Hodgson doesn't deserve such a striking gift.
After two disastrous tournaments hamstrung by tactical dogma, the England manager has hardly relented.
Against lesser opponents, England favour a 4-3-3 formation that accommodates Hodgson-favourite Danny Welbeck, Wayne Rooney and Sterling.
The line-up also grants free rein to the country's finest defensive midfielder Michael Carrick (who has fewer caps than Shaun Wright-Phillips, which is reason enough to question Hodgson's suitability).
But there's no room for Kane, not if England seek to include fellow scorers Rooney, Welbeck and Sterling, who popped up with two assists.
Welbeck's injury might offer Hodgson a convenient excuse to pick Kane against Italy, but he shouldn't need an excuse.
Memories are short. Lithuania was hardly an adequate litmus test. Welbeck, Rooney and Sterling all featured in last year's woeful World Cup. They were all culpable.
Kane wasn't. He was just a promising kid with dreams. Now his dreams belong to England.
When the Three Lions last played, against Scotland in November, Kane had scored four career Premier League goals and was easing his way along Tottenham's pecking order. He now has 30 in 44 games.
That's not a fluke. That's a phenomenon.
White Hart Lane hasn't witnessed such consistent, ruthless scoring since Gary Lineker and Jimmy Greaves. They were built to score goals. And England managers built teams around them.
Hodgson should do the same for Kane against Italy.
England have been bereft of hope for long enough. Kane's time is now.