England have had a bunch of forwards in the last 20 years who have failed to live up to their potential at major tournaments. Then came Harry Kane, who won the golden boot at the 2018 World Cup, and even though a lot of the goals were penalties, England had a man up top who could take care of the goals.
However, things seem to have changed at the 2020 Euros. Kane does not look like a person who is comfortable playing upfront and has failed to score in both of England’s games at the Euros.
So, does Harry suit this England system?
At the 2018 World Cup, Kane was the outright star of the team, and England fans knew that if the Spurs man was having a bad day, chances were that they would end up losing the game.
However, England’s reliance on Kane has gotten lesser and lesser over the last 2 years, thanks to the emergence of the young generation, namely Phil Foden, Mason Mount, Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford, and Raheem Sterling, who albeit not young, has been a consistent member of the England squad. To add to this, Dominic Calvert Lewin has also given Kane some competition, however, his all-around play is not as good as the Spurs center-forward.
While everything went through Kane at the 2018 World Cup, he is just a target man now. In the 2 games against Croatia and Scotland, Southgate has relied on Raheem Sterling, Phil Foden, and Mason Mount to produce the brilliance or the final ball for Kane to finish. This, however, reduces Kane’s importance to the team, which although, is good for the team but does not paint a pretty picture of the English forward.
Most of what Harry Kane does includes him dropping deep and bringing others into the game. This makes him feel involved and responsible. However, if he is left alone up top just to score the goals, his confidence is shaky, and his positioning is a little wayward. This is somebody who contributed to 37 Premier League goals last season and won the Premier League golden boot. However, this is because of Spurs’ overreliance on him rather than his own brilliance.
Kane is an incredible finisher, but if you give somebody 15 chances, they are bound to score a couple of goals. His link-up play was also brilliant, but Heung Min Son was sensational last season, and he was the reason Kane clocked 14 Premier League assists.
However, in England, Kane is not going to be provided with a bucket load of chances and will have to score even where there is half a chance of putting the ball into the back of the net. Cristiano Ronaldo, Luis Suarez, and Lionel Messi have done the same for their country over the last decade.
It must also be noted that Kane’s lack of goals is not helping England either. The draw against Scotland meant that England will have to avoid a loss against group leaders Czech Republic if they want to finish in the Top 2 of Group D.
England’s four at the back is facilitating every single player in the system but it is discouraging their main man and Southgate needs to figure out how to involve his talisman into the game. Raheem Sterling could be given the job of making those overlapping runs ahead of Kane, while England could also set up in a two-striker system.
There are several solutions to this first-world problem of England, and if they want to win their first-ever European Championship, getting their striker back to scoring goals will be a step in the right direction.