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20th Jun 2021

Southgate confirms Harry Kane will start against Czech Republic

Danny Jones

Captain Kane hasn’t registered a single shot on target yet, with other forwards waiting in the wings

As reported by a number of outlets, Gareth Southgate has apparently confirmed that Harry Kane will start in England‘s final group game against the Czech Republic.

The question was pitched to the England manager by ITV, who will be broadcasting the game from 7pm, with kick-off at Wembley set for 8pm. Southgate answered confidently: “You can assume that yeah, absolutely.” – the suggestion being that the England’s captain is the first name on the team sheet no matter what.

Kane has had just three shots on target in the tournament so far – not one of them on target – and in Friday’s game against Scotland, he was hooked with 20 minutes to go after having just 19 touches of the ball. Not what you want from the man leading the line.

In fairness, there is an argument to be made that the Spurs star simply hasn’t had the service to create anything, but that also comes as some fans continue to criticise Southgate for being too rigid in his system and not playing a braver brand of football.

He went on say: “He is our most important player, there is no doubt about that, you only have to look at his goalscoring record with us to see his importance to the team.

“He is fundamental not only for the goals he scores, but the build-up play and everything else he brings. 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.

“In one of the games, we were already ahead and we needed energy, we needed to press and keep the lead and didn’t need additional goals.”

He also cited that, “During the World Cup, we ended up with Harry playing a lot of football and we felt we needed to manage the load a bit this time and we have got good options on the bench to bring people into the game.”

Of those on the bench, Southgate is still yet to use the full variety of his arsenal, with the likes of Jadon Sancho, Jude Bellingham, Jack Grealish and Dominic Calvert-Lewin still yet to enjoy many minutes, if any at all in some cases.

Question is, would you drop Kane and, if so, how would you set England up for their final game in Group D?