Gareth Southgate defends Harry Kane: ‘He is a hugely important figure for us’

Tottenham Hotspur forward Kane has been substituted in all two of England's Euro 2020 group stage matches due to disappointing performances.

Harry Kane leads England against Scotland; Credit: [email protected]

England coach Gareth Southgate appears not too concerned with his star striker Harry Kane’s form, believing that he “inevitably” comes through the difficult periods. Kane has been substituted in England’s both Euro 2020 group-stage fixtures on the back of disappointing outings. Some have even gone as far as calling Southgate to consider dropping the Tottenham striker from the Starting XI. England are currently sitting in second spot, just behind Czech Republic on goal difference. Both these teams will battle each other out for the top spot in their final Group D match.

“I think the only thing that’s relevant is what I’ve said already this week,” Southgate said in his pre-match press conference. “His importance to the team – he’s been our best player, our most influential player, our most important player for a long period of time. Of course there’s been moments where the likes of Raheem (Sterling) have probably had periods where he’s been critical for our success as well in terms the goalscoring, but Harry has consistently been our top goalscorer, his record since I’ve been in charge is phenomenal and he’s a hugely important figure for us.

“I think it’s the world of a big player. Throughout the time I’ve been England manager I must have managed these sorts of questions about Harry in three or four different periods of time, and inevitably he’s come through those periods and scored important goals for us and played exceptionally well. So it’s a bit of a repetitive cycle.”

‘Big players’

On the back of an impressive Premier League campaign, Kane is also the subject of a major transfer saga, with him constantly being linked with different clubs. His coach has confessed that the world of the “big players” is different. “The big players have big focus, have a lot more attention, and their world is far more complicated than a lot of other players who can go under that radar of pressure and intensity,” Southgate said.

“So I’ve got a huge understanding of how that is for Harry, a huge understanding of having played with big personalities, big players how their world is different and hopefully that helps me to manage him and get the best out of him, which over a long period of time I think we have done.”

Southgate on Maguire and Henderson

England narrowly won their Euro 2020 opener against Croatia, but were only able to manage a goalless draw against Scotland in the next fixture. The Three Lions are yet to concede a goal, but they have also scored just one through Raheem Sterling. With England set to play Czech Republic in their final group match, Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson, who are yet to feature in the tournament, could be in line to play some part.

“Slightly different situations given the length of time they’ve missed, but both are training very well and both will be involved tomorrow (Tuesday), so we’re happy with their progress,” Southgate said.

“They’ve already, without being on the pitch, had a massive impact around the training sessions, around the squad, so I couldn’t be happier with the way our playing group and the senior players, in particular, the influence they’ve had and the impact they’ve had. But of course they want to get on the pitch and we’re hoping that they can play a big part in this tournament still for us.”




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