Reports emerging from inside the England camp suggest that Roy Hodgson is under pressure from his fellow coaching staff to drop striker Harry Kane ahead of his side’s heavyweight Euro 2016 fixture against Wales. The Tottenham man’s lacklustre performance in England’s opening game against Russia, has invited a number of critics to question his position in the starting line-up.
There’s no questioning Kane’s heroics for Spurs this season; the striker’s goals were an invaluable asset to Tottenham’s title surge, earning the Premier League golden boot in the process.
— Harry Kane (@HKane) May 18, 2016
Kane scored 25 goals for Tottenham last season and went into Euro 2016 with an impressive international record of five goals in 13 appearances for England. Yet, having made a cumulative 61 appearances for club and country this season, Kane looked particularly jaded and tired during England’s opening tournament fixture against Russia.
Kane was positioned as a lone striker within Roy Hodgson’s system, with Adam Lallana and the particularly disappointing, Raheem Sterling providing support from the wings. The formation proved to be ill-suited to Kane, who struggled have any affect on the game in the face of a physical and deeply positioned opposition defence.
Kane appeared isolated and sapped of energy, recording one of his worst performances in an England shirt. As England’s focal point in attack, he didn’t manage a single touch in the opponents’ penalty area… a disappointing statistic only heighten by his corner-taking duties:
Senior England staff are reportedly concerned about Kane’s lack of impact against Russia, and are rumoured to be arguing that a lack of fitness and sharpness should cost him his place.
With Jamie Vardy, Daniel Sturridge and Marcus Rashford all waiting impatiently on the sidelines, England are blessed with attacking options should they need to change their approach ahead of their second tie against Wales. Kane must know he has a limited window in which to prove himself at Euro 2016 – another disappointing performance and England’s tournament could be over in under a week.
Former England striker Alan Shearer expects Kane to retain his place against Wales, though he appreciates the urgency for Kane to raise his game:
“Of course, just because you have one bad game does not mean you are a bad player and Kane will be looking to Hodgson to give him another opportunity. I know I would and I think he will keep his place.
“For the time being Vardy will have to wait, but the fact we missed so many chances against Russia will mean that, along with Daniel Sturridge and Marcus Rashford, he will be thinking it might not be long before he gets the nod.”
England are desperate for a victory over home-nation rivals Wales, who marked their opening game against Slovakia with a victory thanks to Robson-Kanu’s late winner. The likes of Jamie Vardy, Daniel Sturridge and Marcus Rashford will be equally desperate to make their mark on the tournament – no-one wants to be ignored as a striking option by Hodgson.
Kane has 60 minutes to prove his worth against Wales, else he faces being demoted to the bench for the rest of the tournament – an hour is all he has left to save his England place.