England have 'best finisher in the world' with resurgent Kane

By Sports Desk July 07, 2021

Harry Kane is the best finisher in world football and supporters were wrong to doubt him amid his slow Euro 2020 start.

That is the view of former England manager Steve McClaren as Kane prepares to lead the line in Wednesday's huge semi-final against Denmark on Wednesday.

Kane failed to score in all three group games against Croatia, Scotland and the Czech Republic as England made a steady but unspectacular start.

There were questions over whether the 27-year-old should retain his place in the line-up but the Tottenham striker responded with a headed goal against Germany in the last 16 and two more as England thrashed Ukraine 4-0 in the last eight.

Kane, the top scorer at World Cup 2018, has been involved in 27 goals in his last 26 games for England.

He has nine goals at major tournaments, with his second goal against Ukraine meaning he matched the career total scored by Alan Shearer.

Ahead of the Denmark game, Kane is one away from equalling the national record held by Gary Lineker (10).

Reflecting on Kane's tournament, McClaren told Stats Perform: "Unbelievable. 

"Do we not learn the lessons? You know, you have got Shearer and Lineker on the TV and talking their exploits and not scoring for ages coming into squads.

"Terry Venables [kept faith] with Shearer and Bobby Robson did with Lineker, do we not learn from this? 

"And you could see from the first games, okay, he's out of sorts, but he didn't get the service.

"There were no crosses going into the box, there was no one sliding balls through. 

"And to be fair Harry was outside the box the majority of the time but against Ukraine, Germany, he was inside the box.

"When he is inside the box, he is the best finisher in the world at the present moment. So put the ball in the box. Once we do that, he will score without a doubt."

 

McClaren believes Kane and Raheem Sterling are the two automatic attacking selections for Gareth Southgate, with a host of options beyond that for the other two spots.

"Reliability, that is the key thing," McClaren said about Sterling. "He's always produced for England, why? He's got the trust of Gareth. Every time he comes in, he plays. 

"It's difficult in a club because there are many, many games and sometimes you've been left out or other talent comes in. 

"And I think he's had an up and down season with Man City and in his relationship with Pep Guardiola. 

"He's not the nailed on number one like he is with England and that's the key thing. 

"He's playing with that freedom and you don't see players like that in any of the other nations. 

"Someone who can beat players, go past players, can score with both feet, with his head now he's getting into the box. But he can also create like he did for Kane against Ukraine."

 

McClaren believes England have fringe players who would be huge stars for most of the other nations at the Euros, talking up the likes of Jack Grealish, Jadon Sancho and Phil Foden.

He added: "Gareth's got an embarrassment of riches, he's got so many players who are so different in those positions.

"Grealish normally in any other team in these championships would be the star man regularly playing every game, Foden would be the star man playing every game, Sancho would be the star man playing every game. 

"They are not for England - what a luxury for Gareth.

"Sancho is just one of those talents amongst quite a few that we've got. He beats players, he's quick, strong, direct - he can assist, he can score. 

"He is a younger Sterling at the present moment and looking at him in the future, he could be better than him."

 

While the attacking options often dominate the public debate, McClaren has been extremely impressed with West Ham's Declan Rice and Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips in midfield.

"The work-rate, intensity, the amount of interceptions, the tackles that they put in, they have been for me the unsung heroes of the performances so far," said McClaren.

"We always say if you if you've got weak centre backs or you're not too sure about your centre backs, you always give them protection.

"When you're a little bit suspect there and you have [Tryone] Mings and [John] Stones and people, and without [Harry] Maguire [for the initial games], he [Southgate] needed that protection.

"They've been absolutely fantastic. They've protected the back, let them defend well from crosses. And they've also provided the front players the freedom to go about their jobs. 

"So it's a thankless task, but they're doing it so well."

 

Of the threat posed by Denmark, he added: "I think the big danger is the momentum that they're gaining, the emotion from everybody is with Denmark.

"Christian Eriksen with that incident - so pleased for him and his family and for everybody in football that he's fine and is recovering. 

"But I just think they've been galvanised by what has happened and if Eriksen is at the game with the Danish squad, that's an unbelievable boost. 

"You can see that something is behind them and that for me is the biggest danger, it is not so much Denmark, the players and the team - it's the momentum and the sway and the emotion and the euphoria that is propelling that Danish team above what they should be doing. 

"When you have a cause like that, it so powerful, a powerful emotion, a powerful incentive to see Eriksen at the game as well."

Related items

  • Rumour Has It: Phillips to snub Man Utd for Liverpool, Arsenal plot Richarlison move Rumour Has It: Phillips to snub Man Utd for Liverpool, Arsenal plot Richarlison move

    Is a Leeds United midfielder ready to reject a switch to Old Trafford?

    Typically, Manchester United are too big to turn down but Kalvin Phillips is believed to be willing to withstand their interest due to the rivalry between the two clubs.

    The beneficiaries of such a decision? Liverpool apparently.

     

    TOP STORY – PHILLIPS TO TURN DOWN MAN UTD

    Leeds United star Kalvin Phillips will snub a move to Manchester United in favour of Premier League rivals Liverpool, according to The Sun.

    Phillips has emerged as a target for Leeds' bitter rivals United, while Liverpool are also admirers of the England international.

    Wary of the backlash a move to Old Trafford would cause among Leeds fans, Phillips is ready to reject United and join Liverpool.

     

    ROUND-UP

    Arsenal are plotting a move for Everton star Richarlison, claims Fichajes. The Brazil international scored against Arsenal on Monday, while he has been linked with Paris Saint-Germain.

    - Fabrizio Romano reports Borussia Dortmund have made direct contact with Salzburg star Karim Adeyemi. The Germany international is Dortmund's main target as clubs queue up to sign Erling Haaland, who is wanted by Manchester United, Manchester City, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Liverpool, Chelsea, PSG, Juventus and Bayern Munich.

    - Tuttomercato says Franck Kessie could leave Milan on a free transfer. The soon-to-be free agent has been linked with Tottenham, Inter, PSG and United.

    Fiorentina are poised to sign Lille star Jonathan Ikone, per Gianluca Di Marzio. The deal is reportedly not related to the future of wantaway forward Dusan Vlahovic – the Serbia international has been linked with City, United, Bayern, Inter, Juve, Tottenham and Arsenal.

  • Thompson-Herah, Parchment lead nominees for RJR Sports Foundation's Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year Awards Thompson-Herah, Parchment lead nominees for RJR Sports Foundation's Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year Awards

    Olympic gold medalists Elaine Thompson-Herah and Hansle Parchment have been named among the nominees for the 2021 RJR Sports Foundation Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year Awards set for January 21, 2022.

    Due mainly to the ongoing pandemic, the Awards will be a made-for-television event instead of the usual gala.

    Thompson-Herah will likely be the favourite to add to the award she won in 2016 when she became the first woman to win an Olympic sprint double since 1988. At the Tokyo Olympics, Thompson-Herah won three gold medals (100m, 200m and 4x100m).

    She won the 100m in an Olympic record of 10.61 and the 200m in a national record of 21.53, the second-fastest time in history. Following the Olympics, she ran 10.54, the second-fastest time ever run by a woman, at the Prefontaine Classic in Oregon on her way to winning the Diamond League title.

    However, she is among a stacked field of women who also performed at exceptionally high levels through the year, up to the end of November.

    Chief among them is her perennial rival Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who was second in the 100m in Tokyo and was also a member of the gold-medal-winning 4x100m team. The Pocket Rocket also created history of her own in Tokyo when she became the only woman to win medals in the 100m at four consecutive Olympic Games.

    She also ran a personal best of 10.60 which made her the third-fastest woman in history.

    Shericka Jackson is also among the nominees for winning bronze in the 100m in Tokyo, gold in the 4x100m and a 4x400m bronze. She also ran a personal best 10.76 in the 100m.

    Megan Tapper, another nominee, created history as the first woman from the Caribbean to win a medal in the Olympics 100m hurdles. This, after she surprisingly won her second national title in June.

    Last, but definitely not least of the five female nominees of West Indies Women cricketer Stafanie McPherson, whose consistent performance with bat and ball saw her ranked among the best female cricketers in the world. She also became one of only three women to score 5000 ODI runs in the history of women’s cricket.

    Parchment, who stunned the world to defeat American Grant Holloway and win gold in the 110m hurdles at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, leads the male nominees, that also includes fellow sprint hurdler and national champion Ronald Levy, who won bronze in Tokyo.

    Also among the male nominees are West Indies and Jamaica batsman Nkrumah Bonner and Rally Cross driver Fraser McConnell.

    The nominees for People’s Choice Performance of the Year include Mikhail Antonio’s wonder strike against the United States at the national stadium in Kingston and McConnell’s historic win in the Nordic Rally Cross in February.

    The other nominees are Tapper’s surprise bronze medal in the 100m hurdles in Tokyo, Parchment’s golden run in Tokyo and Thompson-Herah’s blistering 10.54 run in Oregon on August 21.

     

     

  • Tottenham's clash with Rennes called off after COVID-19 outbreak Tottenham's clash with Rennes called off after COVID-19 outbreak

    Tottenham's Europa Conference League clash with Rennes on Thursday has been called off because of a coronavirus outbreak at the Premier League club.

    Antonio Conte confirmed on Wednesday that eight players and five members of staff have tested positive for COVID-19.

    As a result of the spiralling number of cases, Tottenham have shut their first-team training centre.

    UEFA rules state that teams must fulfil a fixture in the competition if they have 13 players, plus a goalkeeper, available for selection.

    But Conte said Spurs only have 11 players to choose from and the Group G showdown with Rennes at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium has now been postponed.

    A new date for the fixture, which Tottenham may have to win to remain in the competition, has not yet been set.

    A statement on Tottenham's official website read: "We can confirm that our UEFA Europa Conference League Group G home fixture against Stade Rennais will not take place tomorrow after a number of positive COVID-19 cases at the club. 

    "Discussions are ongoing with UEFA and we shall provide a further update on this fixture in due course.

    "Additionally, following discussions with the Health Security Agency (formerly Public Health England) and DCMS advisers, the club has been advised to close the first team area of its Training Centre at this time, in the interests of the health and safety of players and staff.

    "All other areas of the Training Centre remain operational."

    Tottenham's Premier League meeting with Brighton and Hove Albion on Sunday is also believed to be in doubt.

    Speaking earlier on Wednesday at a pre-match news conference, Conte said: "Eight players and five members of staff [have tested positive]. But the problem is that every day we're having people with COVID, people that yesterday weren't positive and today are and we're continuing to have contact with. It's a serious problem.

    "Today another player and another member of staff positive. Tomorrow, who? Me? Another member of staff? I want to speak about football. This is not a good thing for you, the fans and staff.

    "Everyone is a bit scared, we all have families. I ask why? Why? Yesterday we trained and two positives, today we trained and after another two positives. Who next? It's not right, we're going home to our families.

    "We had 11 players available for the match and by the end of the training session today one of the players who would start tomorrow is now positive. It's scary. We're all having contact."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.