Written by Henry Clark
By his own admission I’m sure Harry Kane would admit he has not performed to the levels expected of him after another superb Premier League campaign in which he finished as top scorer. Suggestions have been made that Kane looks ‘exhausted’ after a long season as Spurs’ only consistently fit top-class striker; Kane looked a shadow of the player that wreaked havoc this season in the first half against Wales and in the action he got in the opener against Russia.
Yet I feel that the actions of Kane’s teammates, particularly in the game against the Welsh, did him no favours whatsoever. In the first half of the game Kane seemed isolated as the three Welsh centre-backs of a back five completely outnumbered Kane. His teammates slow build-up play, where the ball was slowly passed forward and then seemed to go backwards about as many times was not what Kane needed; he wants the ball played early into his feet to hold-up whilst allowing attacking midfielders like his Spurs teammate Dele Alli to get forward, allowing Kane to then spin-off and get into the box where he is at his very potent best. However, England lacked patience in their build-up and in their frustration long ‘hit-and-hope’ balls were lofted into Kane’s direction leaving him no chance as the three Welsh centre-backs mopped up.
Kane was left helpless through little fault of his own as his England teammates failed to play to their main talismans’ strengths. Far too often balls were hoisted forward from the English defence to a front three of Kane, who had what looked like all three centre backs on his tail, Adam Lallana and Raheem Sterling, the last two of which are not known at all for their aerial strength leaving England with no attacking outlet in the final third.
After Kane was hauled off at the break, along with the lacklustre Sterling, England seemed to find a new dimension, with the energetic Jamie Vardy beginning to slightly stretch the Welsh defence that was shepherded by Ashley Williams. This left more room for the team to advance forward and, sure enough, they bagged two goals through Vardy and the impressive Daniel Sturridge. I can’t say that I think those two are more gifted than Kane but their pace, and the willingness from teammates to step forward with a bit more courage than just ‘hoofing’ it forward, was the difference between victory and defeat against England’s fierce rivals.
Kane looks set to be replaced by Vardy or Sturridge in the upcoming game against Slovakia in Saint-Etienne after their impressive cameo roles, which is a real blow for England fans like myself that expected so much of the young striker, so much so that they put them in their fantasy team – it’s a sore subject, let’s not go there…
Does Kane deserve another chance? Let us know in the comments below!