Harry Kane WILL start in crucial Euro 2020 clash against Czech Republic on Tuesday as Gareth Southgate delivers a huge vote of confidence to his under-fire captain and talisman
Gareth Southgate has taken the unusual step of confirming Harry Kane’s place in England’s starting XI for Monday’s crunch clash against the Czech Republic.
Kane is yet to score during the European Championship, and has been substituted in both of England’s games so far, leading to questions about his role in the team.
But speaking more than 48 hours before England’s final Group D game against the Czechs, Southgate revealed Kane will be keeping his place in his team at Wembley on Tuesday.
Harry Kane will start for England against the Czech Republic, Gareth Southgate has confirmed
When asked whether his skipper would start, Southgate replied: ‘You can assume that (he is starting), yes. Absolutely, I don’t mind giving you that one.
‘He is fundamental, not only to the goals he scores but the build up play and everything else he brings.
‘I know there will be a lot of questions being asked about him at the moment but he has been through that 100 times before.
‘I have answered that in this role several times in the past and he has come up with the goals that have won us the next games and I expect that to be the same moving forward.’
Misfiring Kane has failed to score at Euro 2020 yet and was taken off in the two group fixtures
Southgate rarely gives insight into his team selection ahead of kick off — particularly for competitive fixtures — so his decision to publicly confirm Kane’s place comes as a surprise.
But the England boss has made a decisive move to end speculation about Kane’s position in his team.
Sportsmail understands that criticism of Kane in recent days has been received with bewilderment within the camp, particularly given how much he has already achieved at international level.
Kane, who is widely recognised as one of the best strikers on the planet, has scored 34 goals for England in 56 games, and there is a sense that some of his detractors have short memories.
But Southgate has defended Kane and hailed the frontman as his team’s most important player
Kane is Southgate’s tried and trusted
Harry Kane has played 3,229 minutes for England under manager Gareth Southgate – three hours more than any other player.
Southgate and his coaching staff are under no doubt about how important Kane has been — and will be — for the national team’s hopes of glory in the present and the future.
Indeed, Southgate also revealed that his decision to bring Kane off in the games against Croatia and Scotland was born out of a desire to keep his star striker fresh.
‘In one of the games (against Croatia) we were already ahead and we needed energy, we needed to press and keep the lead and didn’t need additional goals,’ Southgate told ITV Sport.
‘During the World Cup we ended up with him playing a lot of football and we felt we needed to manage the load a bit this time and we have got good options on the bench to bring people into the game.
‘But he is our most important player, there is no doubt about that. You only have to look at his goalscoring record with us to see his importance to the team.’
Kane’s team-mates also rallied round their captain.
Raheem Sterling, the most capped player in the squad, said: ‘I don’t need to say anything to Harry. For goalscoring, for me, if not the best striker in the world — he’s up there, no question about it.
‘He hasn’t scored in two games. That’s not that serious. It’s two games and I’m sure when we need him most, he’s going to score. That’s not a question in my mind.
‘We as a team need to produce more for him, more crosses in the box.
‘He’s a player who knows he can score in every single game and he will be the first person to be disappointed but at the same time I know when it’s crunch time Harry will be there, that’s for sure.’
Kieran Trippier, who has played with Kane at club and international level, added: ‘Harry is fit, he’s working hard every single day in training and it’s just about trying to get the chances to him. But he will score goals, Harry. He’s working so hard for the team off the ball and I think people are not really seeing that and noticing that.
‘He’s our leader. We have got no worries about Harry at all. I know he will score goals.’