Harry Kane believes he did well to deal with the summer speculation over his future but admits the pain of losing the Euro 2020 final may live with him forever.
The England captain was heavily linked with a move from Tottenham to Manchester City ahead of the new season and was absent from the Spurs side at the start of the campaign.
Since returning to the side, Kane has managed just one goal in his 10 Premier League appearances and has seen his form questioned for the first time in years.
He has still been scoring for England and said he is not making any excuses for his slow start at Tottenham.
“Well, I think from my point of view, I think it’s easy for people to try and look for an excuse when maybe you’re not on form or you’re not scoring as many as you usually do,” he said ahead of Friday’s World Cup qualifier against Albania.
“That’s where it’s important for my own self-belief, my own mentality, just to work harder and that’s always been my approach.
“Whether I’m doing really well or the goals aren’t quite coming, it’s just to train hard, work hard for the team and that’s what I’ve done my whole career.
“Obviously, there’s not been many spells, for example, for the club not scoring as many as I’ve scored so far this year.
“But in terms of an England calendar year, it’s been a great year for me personally and I hope to continue that tomorrow night.”
The murmurs of a move to City emerged after Kane had captained England to the final of Euro 2020 – where they lost on a penalty shoot-out to Italy.
“I think it was tough in terms of that loss,” he said. “Losing a European final with your country, at Wembley, that will stay with me probably for the rest of my career.
“You never really get over those things, unless we hopefully go and win some major tournaments. That always stings.
“There was a lot of talk and speculation over the summer. The first real time that’s happened to me in my career. But that’s part and parcel of being a big player, having to deal with those situations, and I think I dealt with it well.
“Now it’s just about focusing. There’s still a long way to go at club level. Now it’s just about finishing these two games strong and finishing what’s been a great calendar year with England.”
Kane’s lack of goals has proved a problem for Spurs, who sacked Nuno Espirito Santo earlier in the month and have since appointed former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte as his successor.
“In terms of the club, obviously it’s been an up and down season, probably a bit more disappointment than we’re probably used to,” he told talkSPORT.
“Obviously (we had) a new manager and now another new manager, personal form hasn’t been as good as it has been in recent years at this stage of the season.
“But all in all, just something to adapt to and learn from. Every season you find a new challenge and that’s what I’ve always found in my career so far.
“So this was about how you deal with that, how you cope with that and my method is always just keep your head down, work hard and from a personal point of view, I know the goals and that are there it’s just about taking the opportunities when they arrive.
“I’m sure we will have a great relationship. I’m looking forward to getting to know him more and getting to work on him more and hopefully we can start turning things around quick as a team and start getting some results.”
England need four points from their remaining two Group I fixtures to ensure their place at next year’s World Cup in Qatar and that is the immediate focus for Kane.
“I think it’s a game that we definitely want to win,” he said of the Albania clash.
“We need four points to qualify so the sooner you can get three on the board the better. We expect a really tough game.
“Obviously Albania still have a chance to qualify for a World Cup and we know they’ll bring a lot of energy, a lot of passion to the game. So we’ve got to make sure that we match that and obviously we feel on the ball – and with our ability – we have more than enough to win the game but, for sure, it’ll be a tough battle.”