Thursday, October 22, 2020

Harry Kane: England boss Gareth Southgate says ‘we do not risk players’

Harry Kane: England boss Gareth Southgate says 'we do not risk players'

Harry Kane has scored 32 goals in 48 international matches for England

England “do not risk players” and captain Harry Kane “has not had an injury”, says manager Gareth Southgate.

Tottenham striker Kane appeared as a 66th-minute substitute in Sunday’s Nations League win over Belgium.

Spurs boss Jose Mourinho asked international managers to protect his players after a hefty fixture schedule and is reportedlyexternal-link opposed to Kane starting against Denmark on Wednesday.

Southgate said he wants players “fit” and “as sharp as possible”.

Tottenham were the first English side to return to action this season because of their involvement in the Europa League qualifiers and before Sunday, Kane had featured in 10 games in the past 29 days for club and country.

Kane, 27, was sent for a scan but Southgate said the player has been “fully fit since the end of last week”.

He added: “I don’t really understand the story. He would have started the last game but did not have enough training time and was fine during the game, so is fit and available.

“I did not understand the stories being run and where that is coming from because they are not the conversations we have been having with Spurs medically. It is something that is not really affecting us in camp.

“He has been fully fit since the end of last week, just before the last game. He has not had an injury, he was feeling muscle soreness which can happen to athletes but there was no injury at any point.”

Kane has scored 32 goals in 48 international matches for England but is yet to find the net for the Three Lions in 2020.

The side take on Denmark at Wembley (kick-off 19:45 BST) looking to maintain their unbeaten record in the competition, in which they are top of group A2.

Southgate said: “We do not risk players, I have been a player and my priority is the welfare of players. We have never risked a player, have never lost a player through an error in our training loading and we pride ourselves in looking after the player.

“We want them fit, we want them as sharp as possible for the games and our issue with Harry before Sunday’s game was about being able to perform at the highest level.

“Now he has got an additional couple of days training in and it is not even an issue.”

‘More to come from Rashford’

If Kane does start against Denmark he will likely be supported by Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford, who scored his 11th England goal in Sunday’s win over Belgium just days after being awarded an MBE.

Former Manchester United captain Roy Keane was critical of Rashford’s first-half displayexternal-link at Wembley but Southgate says it is easy to forget the striker is still 23.

“I think sometimes he doesn’t realise how good he can be,” Southgate told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“I think in the second half at the weekend you saw a player with belief, ambition, working for the team, goal threat, pace and guile and skill that frightens the opposition.

“He has got to continue to have that belief in himself. We’ve got tremendous faith in him. There is so much more to come.”

Trippier missed as Grealish settles

Over a year has passed since England’s last defeat – 2-1 against Czech Republic – and since then Southgate’s side have scored 23 goals and conceded just once.

Atletico Madrid full-back Kieran Trippier has impressed when called upon during that run of form but will miss facing Denmark for “personal reasons”.

“He’s a kid who since he has worked with us has given absolutely everything,” added Southgate.

“He has had a huge impact on big matches and his defending, the grittiness of his defending the other day, was a key component in what was a very strong back line.

“It’s very rare we have a full squad to pick from. Often we are having to do without two or three key players. We have got to go and do the same on Wednesday.”

Southgate revealed Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish – who has two caps but was an unused substitute at in the win over Belgium – had been carrying “a knock”.

“I think he is enjoying the experience and he’s enjoying seeing how we want to play and that’s slightly different to his club,” added Southgate.

“Obviously every player has to adjust to that, so he is very much in the frame. He’s continuing to prove his position within the squad that’s for sure.”

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