The English captain concedes that it wasn't “our best result”, but wants the team to be ready for the “big game” against Czech Republic.
England captain Harry Kane endured a forgettable evening against Scotland, resulting in him being substituted in the second half for Marcus Rashford. It was not just the forward, the entire team failed to hit their usual standards as the visitors managed to hold them off for a frustrating goalless draw on Friday. With four points from two games, England are sitting second in Group D. They are still in a comfortable position to make it out of the group. No longer just the top two teams qualify into the knockout stages. Four of the best third-placed teams can also progress from their respective groups.
After the match, Kane told ITV, “A draw was probably a fair result. Fair play to Scotland, they defended really well, created a few chances themselves. It wasn’t our best result, but it’s another point closer to qualification. We’ve got to dust ourselves and look forward to another game in a few days. It’s part of the game [to be subbed]. The manager will make decisions, and if he thinks it’s right he’s got to do it.”
“It is what it is, and we’ve got another big game in a few days, we’ve got to recover well and get ready for that. I think it was just a tough game. They defended really well, made great blocks at the right time, and that’s football. It’s the Euros, no game is going to be easy. They’re playing for their lives and we saw that today.”
England head coach Gareth Southgate defended his cautious approach in the goalless draw against Scotland. During the game in which England had only one shot on target, Southgate deployed only two of his five substitutes. Marcus Rashford and Jack Grealish, who are like-for-like replacements for Harry Kane and Phil Foden, were brought on by the coach.
“It feels difficult in the last 15 minutes of a game like tonight where fans are desperate for you to go forward and abandon shape, because it’s Scotland, it feels like a unique occasion, but we have to still approach it that a point is still an important step towards qualification, which ultimately is the first objective for us,” said Southgate.
“I think in those moments, if we had to chase to win with no consequence for conceding, you might approach it differently; but all the time, it’s a night where it was a bit frantic, it wasn’t a game with a huge amount of control, and you have to make sure that sitting on three points as we were, you manage the tournament as well as the game.”
With only one game remaining in the group, Southgate emphasised the importance of qualifying from the group. “It’s easy to gamble towards the end, and lose shape, and then end up losing the game in the last five minutes, then you’re kicking yourself for not managing the tournament. I understand we’re at Wembley, we wanted to win, but in the context of the tournament qualification is the most important thing.
“It’s a game where we didn’t hit the levels we wanted to, or need to, and have to accept whatever comes our way, I’ll have to accept whatever comes my way, I totally understand that, but what we need to do is make sure we get behind the players.”