June 18, 2016

England Don’t Deserve Harry Kane

During the England vs Wales match on Thursday, my Twitter-friend Dan Rattigan tweeted ‘England don’t deserve Kane’. I chortled to myself in the pub, hit the retweet button, and carried on my day. But then I came back to it later that night and realised how much it had resonated with me.

Of course I’m a Harry Kane apologist; I’m a Spurs fan. So here are my excuses on his behalf.

Before this tournament I was feeling grumpy, because I didn’t want to share Harry with other football fans — particularly those casuals who only show up when a big tournament comes around. So I should be happy, right, that I’m not having to? You’d think. Quiet in the first match, and hauled off at half-time against Wales, the backlash has begun, and I’m feeling like a protective boyfriend whose partner has just had her backside groped in a grotty nightclub.

Kane looks sluggish, and it doesn’t take too much digging to understand why. The Daily Mail (*spits*) did some really useful analysis (I know, me either) of the number of matches Kane has played over the last two years.

Harry Kane match analysis

It’s understandable that Kane looks tired.

But has Kane really been that bad? He’s been quiet, certainly. He’s not had much of the ball, he’s had no presentable chances, and he has not looked much of a goal threat.

On Thursday, Kane had just 13 touches in his 45 minutes; that’s not like him. Normally he is so involved, creating a platform for his team to play from. And yet Jamie Vardy only had seven touches in his time on the pitch. Vardy came on, scored a poachers goal from a position that would often have been offside and is spoken of as a hero, with fans in pubs across the country considering the alcoholic beverages and recreational drugs that may or may not be on offer at his upcoming soirée.

Whilst the other ‘super sub’, Daniel Sturridge, played 1700 minutes last season compared to Kane’s 4027. He’s fresher, looks sharp, and should be used. I’m sure he will be now, having come on and scored an impressive last-minute winner.

But I have no doubt that Kane would have buried the chance that Vardy scored to bring England level. And I have no doubt that had Kane remained on the pitch with either Sturridge or Vardy, he’d have had a positive impact in that second half.

The bigger issue, for me, has been the lack of service for the forward(s). Much of that can be put down to Raheem Sterling — bereft of confidence and looking a shadow of his former self — but even England’s better attacking performers (Wayne Rooney, Dele Alli, Adam Lallana) have failed to provide Kane and co with many clearcut chances.

Contrary to popular opinion, I actually think that England have generally played well, looking structurally sound, and conceding few chances in open play. They have played some neat and tidy football, which has been eye-catching at times, and a bit too side-to-side at others. We must remember, though, that the teams we have played so far have defended deep and in numbers, and it is never easy to penetrate sides that do that, as Spurs often found out last season.

For the Slovakia game I’d be looking at starting Sturridge and Vardy, but only to give Kane a bit of a break. Bring him on in the final twenty against tired legs, and hopefully he’ll get a goal to pep him up ahead of the next round. I would absolutely start him thereafter, because he’s our best forward. But I do think that he will need Sturridge and/or Vardy on the pitch with him, or for Alli to play high on the left as he did for Spurs for much of the season. Essentially, he needs someone to play off.

England don’t deserve Kane because ‘they’ don’t know how to love him like ‘we’ do.

Final thought. If you only read one thing today (other than this!), read this masterpiece about Eric Dier by Barney Ronay.

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  • Steve says:

    He needs service, he is paying for Lallana and Sterling not suiting his style of play. It’s up to the manager to form a team that’s effective, if that means Vardy and not Kane, so be it.

  • paul Ross-Davies says:

    Kane is fantastic footballer wether IN or OUT. The pass that Kane gave Sterling (who should have scored) brilliant. No Hodgson knows Kane well enough to see he is huge asset to club /Country

  • Awung Donald says:

    Kane is a luxery England can’t afford to loose. He can get you goal out of nothing. i like him because, he never gives up when the going is tough. that’s why we love. he has to rest to prepare for the knock out stages. playing sturidge and vardy alongside him will definitely terrorize the opposition. Hodgson should see that.

  • mark says:

    First things first I am a spurs fan. Secondly harry is looking tired and sluggish so he does not deserve on form to be in the england team. Club football pales in comparison to the national team and it never ceases to amaze me that these sort of debates rage. Support england the best england team and at the moment that does not include harry kane.

    • WindyCOYS says:

      For me, club will always come before country. So who would you play at the moment? Vardy, Sturridge, or both?

      • Anonymous says:

        I think always go with form players in tournament football so Vardy and Sturridge.

        Personally I never understand how clubs could go before country. In theory any club in the world could buy the greatest 11 players in the world and win the lot. With a national side you have to pick what the best the country has to offer and win with that and you get to see the best your country has to offer up against the best another nation can offer.

        Surely you can’t better this?

  • Joe says:

    Frankly, I would prefer Kane (and all Spurs) players came through the Euros/Copa without playing and uninjured, just a nice summer rest before the season starts. Interesting in the Dier article where he says that of the front 6 only Dier is in his natural position.

  • In-N-Out Burger says:

    I can’t believe the FA thought it was good idea for Kane to go to the U21’s tourno last summer.
    Kane had just scored 31(?) goals. Did they not see him as a potential candidate for the Euros? If they did, then why would they think he could play for two years straight, without a break?
    The mind boggles…

    As for ‘dropping’ Kane against Slovakia, why is this all over the papers already?
    If Hodgson thinks he needs a break, or just prefers Sturridge all of a sudden, then he needs to keep Kane onside; otherwise he’ll be throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

    Sterling, and to a lesser degree Lallana are the problem. 2 goals in 46 games was their combined record before the Wales match. So if Kane failed to deliver immediately, it was only ever going to be on his shoulders.

    Sterling and Lallana are not goalscorers. So where were the goals coming from? All on Kane. However, he’s had zero service, as the other two in the front three have no end product.

    Hopefully he comes on after an hour and gets a goal, then he’ll come back to life.

    Hodgson is a notoriously bad man-manger/motivator. Frankly it’s shocking he’s still in charge. Clueless.

    Apropos Barney Ronay, his articles are always worth reading. Squires too.

    Rant Over.

    • WindyCOYS says:

      Personally I think Hodgson is better than given credit for (though still not a great manager), and that he has difficult choices. Had Henderson been fit, I think he might have played Alli wide left rather than Sterling. But he needs legs in midfield alongside Rooney and Dier.

  • Spencer Kurash says:

    In the WC 1986 after 2 games England had 1 point 0 goals and looked to be on the first plane home. Gary Lineker had barely had a kick. For the final game Bobby Robson reshaped the team with the result that against Poland Lineker claimed a first half hat-trick scored 2 in the next game v Paraguay and a consolation goal v Argentina. He ended up with the Golden Boot and started the following season up front for Barcelona

  • david I johannes says:

    I think its a bit of tiredness and lack of intelligent through balls from the wingers play Dali Ali on the left and Milner on the right let them feed the strikers cz they are straight forward players and don’t hold too long on the ball they must also cut in so the strkers can loose their markers easily cz all the teams play a deep defence and the only way to break that is to run at them and play penetrative FOOTBALL hope Hodgson will use this

    • WindyCOYS says:

      So who comes into your midfield with Alli wide left? I think he’d have done that if Henderson were available, but think he might be worried that a midfield of Wilshere, Rooney, Dier doesn’t have enough legs.

  • Trimmy says:

    Have to admit you are correct in your analasys of the plight he is in
    Just really poor service from Sterling and Llalana
    Need to get it forward quicker and to Kane and give him a chance to score
    He is a threat when the delivery is correct

  • Derek Parsons says:

    Like all players that shine they play them so much that they burn themselves out and they fall to the wayside this shouldn’t have happened to Harry ,but outside of Tottenham England didn’t have anyone as good then so Harry was exploted to the experence of Tottenham one of our best players

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