HArry Kane has downplayed concerns about his fitness after being substituted during England’s 0-0 draw with Scotland and insisted he has not been distracted by his desire to leave Tottenham this summer.
The England captain, who admitted he is not invincible after fighting during last Sunday’s win over Croatia, is convinced his slow start to Euro 2020 is not due to a lack of sharpness. Kane, replaced against Scotland by Gareth Southgate’s desire for more energy in attack, stressed that he is not injured and that the team’s main source of goals is to shoot when it matters after fading towards the end of the 2018 World Cup.
“Gareth is within his right to make whatever changes he thinks are best for the team,” Kane said. “What we’ve learned in past tournaments is about trying to peak at the right time. The best time to peak is in the knockout stages and hopefully start from there. Perhaps in Russia there were times, towards the quarterfinals and semifinals, when he was not as ready as he wanted. In the end we didn’t get where we wanted to go, perhaps partly for that reason.
“It’s about managing the team, making sure everyone feels as fit and fit as possible. In my case, it was a tough couple of matches and it’s about making sure I’m the right fit for the rest of them. I had no problem. He didn’t physically feel like he wasn’t up to the task. I felt going to those games as good as I did all season, if I’m honest. “
Kane, who is under attack by Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City, dismissed the idea that the publicity of his determination to leave Spurs had affected his performances. “Absolutely not,” said the 27-year-old. “My whole focus is on how can I help this team and how can we be successful in this tournament. I understand that, from a media point of view, there is speculation, but I am completely focused on the work here. “
Kane, who has scored twice for his club and his country since recovering from an ankle injury in April, asked for patience after Southgate’s young team were booed against Scotland. England, who have four points from their first two Group D games, need to beat the Czech Republic on Tuesday to ensure they reach the knockout stages in first place.
“Within the group, it’s time to be calm,” Kane said. “The first objective was to qualify. If you turn the results around and we draw against Croatia and we beat Scotland and we had four points, I don’t think there are too many arguments.
“We could have played a lot better on Friday night, but these games are not easy. Scotland is playing for its life in this tournament. You don’t just show up and step over teams. You have to play the best you can to win. We didn’t quite do it, but we didn’t lose, which was important. “
Kane suggested that England is still at its peak. “I feel that there are things we can improve, but I also feel that we still have enough skill and togetherness to go very far in this tournament,” he said. “We would have loved to have won the first two games and beat the Czech Republic and be nine points behind and sailing.
“But then sometimes you get a hit back to the ground when you get knocked out in the early stage because you think everything is great and there may be one or two things you missed that you need to work on. Sometimes a result like Scotland wakes you up a bit, maybe it opens your eyes to areas that we need to improve. It could be a good thing what happened to us last night. “
Kane suggested that he is still building an understanding with his fellow attackers. Raheem Sterling and Phil Foden of Mason Mount and City joined the team late after playing in the Champions League final between Chelsea and City last month.
“Obviously, you don’t play as many England games as you do in club football,” Kane said. “It may take a game or two for you to understand a little more where the others are going to be on the field, the runs that the players do when I fall deep, the people running behind, or vice versa. These two games have been a bit of that.
“We have had two great clean sheets and that is what we are going to carry on. We all pride ourselves on not fitting in, front to back, and now I feel like we can improve in the attacking third and be a little more fluid and a little freer and create some more opportunities. Then we can be a strong team. “
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism