Micah Richards accidentally reveals the truth about Harry Kane and England’s struggles after being subbed off by Gareth Southgate.
The Three Lions captain has struggled in his country’s opening two matches at Euro 2020 and has been widely criticised by supporters up and down the country.
The Tottenham striker is yet to open his account in the major tournament, but in truth, his international teammates have been so lackluster with their chances that he’s not really had a sniff in a decent goal scoring area.
He came into the Euros in fine form after securing his third Premier League Golden Boot with a final day strike against Leicester City, enough to beat Mohamed Salah to the individual award.
Yet, his brilliance in front of goal has not carried over to the European Championships so far – and he has seen himself taken off in both of England’s Euro matches so far.
England struggled to create anything in their goalless draw with Scotland on Friday and even in their 1-0 win against Croatia last weekend, Gareth Southgate’s men were not exactly free-flowing in attack despite the wealth of offensive options the England boss has at his disposal.
Kieran Trippier, a right-footer, started at left-back in the opening encounter, which left England with not the same attacking threat on that area of the pitch. However, Luke Shaw and Reece James started either side of the four-man defence against Scotland, which on paper, looked a stronger option for Southgate in an attacking sense.
But both James and Shaw never really got into the right areas, which you have to credit Scotland, making it more frustrating for England and Kane.
Kane is of course one of the top strikers in European football, but if the Euros have taught us anything this summer, even the best cannot produce magic without the service behind them.
Micah Richards compared Kane with the Polish player when sharing his sympathy for the 32-year-old at half time in Poland’s clash with Spain on Saturday, just minutes before Lewandowski found the back of the net with a bullet header.
“You feel for him a little bit, though, because he’s not getting enough service,” Richards said on BBC’s coverage of Spain vs Poland.
“You see him at Bayern Munich, scoring week in and week out, but he’s feeding off scraps in this Poland team. I feel a bit sorry for him at times.”
Whilst Micah Richards accidentally reveals the truth about Harry Kane and England’s struggles, Alan Shearer was in the studio to give his verdict, something praised by many…
— Match of the Day (@BBCMOTD) June 19, 2021
Questions remain on whether Kane will start in the game against Czech Republic, though he’ll no doubt be desperate to see more of the ball in dangerous areas as he looks to light up the tournament like so many know he can.
Harry Kane has played down concerns over his fitness after being subbed off during England’s 0-0 draw with Scotland and insisted he has not been distracted by the focus on his desire to leave Tottenham this summer.
The England captain, who admitted that he is not undroppable after struggling against Croatia, is adamant that his dismal start to Euros is not down to a lack of sharpness.
“Gareth is within his rights to make the changes he thinks are best for the team,” Kane said. “What we’ve learned over past tournaments is about trying to peak at the right time. The best time to be peaking is in the knockout stages and hopefully kick on from there. Maybe in Russia there were times, towards the quarter- and semi-final, when I wasn’t as sharp as I wanted to be. In the end we didn’t get to where we wanted to go, maybe partly for that reason.
“It’s about managing the squad, making sure everyone is feeling as fit and sharp as possible. In my case, it was a tough couple of games and it’s about making sure I’m right for the rest of them. I didn’t have any issues. I didn’t feel physically I wasn’t up to it. I felt going into those games as good as I’ve felt all season, if I’m honest.”
Kane, who is currently being linked by Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City, dismissed the idea that publicising his determination to leave Tottenham has affected his performances.
“Absolutely not,” the 27-year-old said. “All my focus is on how I can help this team and how we can be successful in this tournament. I understand from a media point of view there is speculation but I am fully focused on the job here.”
Kane, who has scored twice for club and country since recovering from an ankle injury in April, called for patience after Southgate’s side were booed off against Scotland.
“Inside the group, it’s time to be calm,” Kane said. “The first objective was to qualify. If you turn the results around and we drew against Croatia and beat Scotland and had four points, I don’t think there would be too many arguments.
“We could have played a lot better on Friday night but these games aren’t easy. Scotland are playing for their life in this tournament. You don’t just turn up and walk over teams. You have to play to your best ability to win. We didn’t quite do that but we didn’t lose, which was important.”
Kane suggested that England are yet to peak. “I still feel like there are things we can improve but I also feel like we still have enough ability and togetherness to go very far in this tournament,” he said. “We’d have loved to have won the first two games and beat the Czech Republic and be nine points and be cruising.
“But then sometimes you get a hit back down to earth when you get knocked out in the early knockout stage because you think everything is great and there might be one or two things you’ve missed and you need to work on. Sometimes a result like Scotland wakes you up a little bit – maybe opens your eyes to areas that we do need to improve. It could be a good thing, what happened to us last night.”
Kane suggests that he is still building an understanding with his attackers. Mason Mount and City’s Raheem Sterling and Phil Foden joined the squad late after playing in the Champions League final between Chelsea and City last month.
“Obviously you don’t get as many England games as you do club football,” Kane said. “It might take you a game or two to get that little bit more understanding of where each other are going to be on the pitch, the runs players make when I drop deep, people running in behind, or vice versa. These couple of games have been a bit of that.
“We’ve had two great clean sheets and that’s what we’re going to be going forward. We all pride ourselves on not conceding, from front to back, and now I feel we can get better in the attacking third and be a bit more fluid and a bit more free and create a few more chances. Then we can be a strong team.”
Fans reacted to comments made as Alan Shearer gives his verdict and Micah Richards accidentally reveals the truth about Harry Kane and England’s struggles…
@Alonosi: Spot on. Yes Kane has been poor. But we’ve given him so little to feed on, especially last night
@MikeWalker51: Spot on @alanshearer
@mrpaulnixon: If Harry Kane isn’t a shouter or a screamer but someone who “leads by his performances”, he is not leading.
@James_Eddie7: It’s true of Kane this but why aren’t our full backs crossing? Because we have a manager who must be telling them not to. This is what happens with a defensive manager.
@Al_R2408: Spot on, safe football
@dave_wilky: Nailed it fullbacks none effect midfielders bottling the danger passes
@WILLIS__JAMES: Couldn’t be more right
@ethb_: Said it for years. Him dropping deep was understandable when we lacked the creative players getting on the ball in the pockets on the half turn. But now we have the likes of foden, mount, grealish, he’s got to push on and trust they’ll get him the ball
@scottbamby: He just isn’t on the level of players like Grant Hanley.
@rrrgfrancis: Maybe he comes short because he isn’t getting the service from the wing backs. That’s the problem not Kane. The manager sets the team and pattern of play and he needs to tell the players to play to their strengths. This team looks sacred even to think of any movement forward!
@ChrismanSpurs: Finally someone with some more intelligent analysis than ‘Kane looks off the pace’
@bourne_mr: Bang on but the difference is @alanshearer was lucky enough to have the late great Bobby Robson to give him advice, Kane’s got Gareth Southgate who took 4 RB’s to the euros. that mentality we are set up to not concede and as a result Kanes having to come short to get in the game.