England’s Euro 2020 campaign got off to a solid if unspectacular start with a 1-0 win over Croatia at Wembley.
A Raheem Sterling goal in the second half was enough to secure the three points in Group D with fixtures against Scotland and Czech Republic to come.
If there was anything for Gareth Southgate to perhaps be concerned about, it was the somewhat lacklustre performance of Harry Kane, who almost unbelievably has now found the back of the net just twice in his last ten appearances for the Three Lions.
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On the latest Game of Opinions podcast collaboration between Eurosport and The Beautiful Game, the team discussed the Tottenham striker, his role and continued inclusion in the starting line up for the remainder of the group stage matches.
With England heavy favourites to progress, Eurosport’s Pete Sharland posed the question as to whether Kane ought to sit out the next match or continue to play himself into form, to which Dotun Abijoh suggested England’s star frontman simply can’t be dropped given his record and ability.
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“Harry Kane is a tricky one,” he said. “He’s England’s best player but recently he hasn’t been banging in the goals for England the way we expect him to.
“I watched him closely yesterday, he was dropping deep, trying to link things up but it didn’t quite happen for him. He had that big opportunity where he collided with the post.
“Do you rest him or do you play him into form? I think, as England’s best player, you play him into form.
“And even if he doesn’t score in the second of even third game, you have to keep playing Harry Kane because you know once it comes to the clutch moments, he’s going to deliver for England.”
Deji Odedina was less convinced Kane would retain his place in the team for the upcoming showdown with Scotland, suggesting Southgate may choose to change things tactically no that he has the opportunity:
“England have an embarrassment of riches and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Dominic Calvert-Lewin start against Scotland due to that physical nature which could work in their favour.”
When asked by Sharland if it were possible to perhaps include both strikers in the starting XI with Kane potentially playing off the main focal point in a more withdrawn ‘number 10’ position, Odedina suggested that this may not be the best use of the latest Premier League golden boot winner’s talents.
“I think the whole idea of playing Harry Kane as a number nine is to score the goals and we don’t want to start going into Tottenham territory when you’re dropping him deep and you’re got two runners.” He added.
“I think with England have enough in their arsenal to play Kane as a lone striker, and the others, Grealish, Sterling, Foden, Sancho to do that other sort of work.
“Harry Kane should be a striker and nothing else.”
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