Should England be concerned by Harry Kane’s display in Euro 2016 opener?

Should England be concerned by Harry Kane’s display in Euro 2016 opener?

Should England be concerned by Harry Kane’s display in Euro 2016 opener?

England suffered an all too familiar late collapse in their Euro 2016 opener against Russia as Vasili Berezutski scored a stoppage-time equaliser to hand Russia a point in their clash.

The Three Lions extended their run without a win in a major competition to five matches, stretching back through the 2014 World Cup and Euro 2012.

Roy Hodgson and his team will be desperate to get on track in their bid to win the tournament for the first time.

However, the performance of Harry Kane in Marseille could give the Three Lions cause for concern.

Despite the 22-year-old’s underwhelming display against Russia he remains a strong candidate to end the competition with the golden boot at 18/1 with the best Euro odds on Paddy Power.

Kane struggled to find his rhythm during the course of the contest, although he was not helped by the fact that England altered their formation and personnel for the fourth match on the spin.

He played alongside Jamie Vardy when he scored against Turkey in his side’s warm-up match, while Hodgson made adjustments to the formation against Portugal at Wembley.

The Three Lions boss opted to leave Vardy out of the side for the opener in favour of Raheem Sterling, leaving Kane to lead the line by himself, with Wayne Rooney operating in midfield.

Dele Alli tried to forge the link-up play that served the duo at Tottenham Hotspur last season, where Kane notched 25 goals in the top flight.

On this occasion they failed to click in the final third, although Alli had a strong showing on his first display in a major tournament.

Kane struggled with his movement and the timing of his runs into the box, resulting in two offside decisions when the Three Lions had built up pressure on the Russian backline,

The 22-year-old has undoubted quality and remains the best striker in England’s squad, but he could be feeling the effects of his exploits for Spurs last term.

He played 50 matches for Mauricio Pochettino’s men, and was their only player to lead the line for the club in their ill-fated quests for the Premier League title and Europa League crown.

Kane could be close to burnout, which would explain his lethargic performance against Russia, while he also failed to deliver from set pieces, highlighting the curious decision from Hodgson to ask him to perform the duties.

With Vardy, Daniel Sturridge and Marcus Rashford to call on, it will be interesting to see whether Hodgson will keep faith with Kane should he continue to show signs of fatigue.

Vardy played fewer matches than Kane during the last campaign, while Sturridge and Rashford should also be fairly fresh given their brief game time at club level.

Hodgson is fortunate to have strong options available to him to replace Kane, which have not always been available to previous England managers during major competitions.

However, if Kane can gain a second wind and regain his peak form he has the ability to guide the Three Lions into the latter stages of the competition.

 

Supporters will wait with baited breath to see which player features in England’s remaining two Group B matches in France.

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