Southgate not replacing misfiring Kane in England attack

Sports

England’s Harry Kane, right, shakes hands with his coach Gareth Southgate as he leaves the pitch during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group D match between England and Scotland, at Wembley stadium, in London, Friday, June 18, 2021. (Facundo Arrizabalaga/Pool via AP)

LONDON (AP) — No goals from Harry Kane at Euro 2020. No plans for England coach Gareth Southgate to drop his star striker.

The captain has yet to even get a shot on target as England opened its European Championship campaign with a 1-0 win over Croatia and a 0-0 draw with Scotland.

But Kane is keeping his place in the side for the Group D finale against the Czech Republic at Wembley Stadium.

“He is fundamental not only to the goals he scores, but the buildup play and everything else he brings,” Southgate said Sunday. “I know there will be a lot of questions being asked about him at the moment, but he has been through that 100 times before.

“I have answered that in this role several times in the past and he has come up with the goals that have won us the next games and I expect that to be the same moving forward.”

Southgate has substituted Kane in both matches so far at Euro 2020.

“In one of the games we were already ahead and we needed energy to press and keep the lead, (so) we didn’t need an additional goal,” Southgate told broadcaster ITV Sport. “Harry, during the World Cup, we ended up with him playing a lot of football and we’ve felt the need to manage that load a little bit this time and we have got good options on the bench to bring people into the game.

“But he is our most important player, there is no doubt about that, you’ve only got to look at his goalscoring record with us to see his importance to the team.”

He was the top scorer at the 2018 World Cup as England reached the semifinals. The Tottenham player was also the Premier League’s top scorer last season and No. 1 in assists.

“He works so hard for the team. People might not recognize what he does off the ball, the pressing,” England defender Kieran Trippier said. “I believe in Harry and I know he will score goals, but it is the work he does for the team. Some people might not recognize what he does — the link-up play.”

The Atletico Madrid player certainly does, as a former teammate of Kane’s at Tottenham.

“Harry is fit, he’s working hard every single day in training,” Trippier said. “He’s an unbelievable professional and we just need to try and get him on the end of chances and try and create as much for him as we can.”

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