Euro 2020: In defence of Harry Kane – and why can’t Phil Foden and Jack Grealish play together for England?
In the latest Eurosport x The Beautiful Game podcast, Buj and Dot are joined by Eurosport's very own Ben Snowball. The team break down Gareth Southgate’s tactics in England’s draw with Scotland, and discuss the criticism striker and captain Harry Kane is facing after two Euro 2020 games without a goal.
'Southgate doesn't know his best team' - England caught unprepared
“When Kane drops deep it’s different because he drags the centre-back with him. Space is created. Previously with Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling in form they’d run into that space,” Ben said.
“The problem is that doesn’t work against Scotland because they sit too deep and now we’ve got Phil Foden who isn’t that same kind of player.
“Kane is getting all this stick but it’s not really his fault. He’s missed one big chance this Euros where he clattered into the post and scuffed it against Croatia. That didn’t matter. The chances aren’t being created.
Kane is always being questioned, but he always answers them wrong. He was a one-season wonder, then a two-season wonder, then three-season. How many more times? The guy won the 2018 World Cup Golden Boot and it’s ‘Oh he only scores penalties’.
'He will score goals' - Trippier defends Kane
“There’s always questions. He always answers them. I’m sure he will here. He’s going to start against Czech Republic, Southgate confirmed, and surely he’ll bury one soon.”
‘Play Grealish and Foden together’
With Jack Grealish a late substitute and Jadon Sancho left on the bench against Scotland, Dot called questioned Gareth Southgate’s tactics after the England manager opted against going more attacking during the game.
'Play Grealish and give Sancho a chance' - Southgate urged to make changes
“Grealish has to play every single game. The biggest problem against Scotland that I had – why did Foden come off for Grealish? Why can’t they play in the same team?” Dot said.
“That’s like for like, but what a proactive top manager would do is say, you know what, I can sacrifice a defensive midfielder and bring on an extra attacker. That could have been the difference.
“The starting XI I don’t have a big issue with – that team has enough to beat Scotland, but the setup was wrong. If you’re playing Kalvin Phillips in an advanced position, you may as well play a Jude Bellingham or Grealish – or Sancho out wide and Foden in the middle.
“Southgate got it wrong if I’m being perfectly honest.”
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‘We don’t know England’s best XI’
Ben went on to suggest that England’s focus was awry when it came to their warm-up games against Austria and Romania – and it has left both Southgate and supporters unsure on what their best XI is going into their final group game.
“England have the squad to win this, or at least make the semi-finals, and my concern is that we spent so long in the warm-ups worrying about who would be the 26th man – Jesse Lingard, James Ward-Prowse, but eventually Ben White – we didn’t actually prepare the players who are actually going to play,” Ben added.
Now Southgate doesn’t know his best team. He was hamstrung by the Champions League final with players arriving late and now we have no idea what his best team is.