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regular-article-logo Monday, 22 July 2024

Euro 2024: Look at the mirror, England caption Harry Kane blasts former stars

I always feel like they have a responsibility, the England captain said at the team’s training camp on Sunday

AP/PTI, Reuters London Published 25.06.24, 10:59 AM
England’s Harry Kane

England’s Harry Kane File image

Harry Kane says former England stars should remember how hard it is to play for their country before criticising the team’s lacklustre performances so far at Euro 2024.

“I always feel like they have a responsibility,” the England captain said at the team’s training camp on Sunday.

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“I know they have got to be honest and give their opinion but also they have a responsibility of being an ex-England player that a lot of players look up to, that people do listen to them and people do care what they say.”

Kane was responding to strong criticism from former England internationals Gary Lineker and Alan Shearer among others after England’s 1-0 win over Serbia and a 1-1 draw with Denmark.

Lineker, who scored 48 goals in 80 games for England, had described the draw against Denmark with an expletive and said Kane “needs to do a lot better” despite scoring England’s opener.

Kane, who scored 36 goals in 32 Bundesliga appearances for Bayern Munich last season, said he never wants “to be disrespectful to any player, especially a player who has worn the shirt and knows what it is like to play for England,” but, “the bottom line is we haven’t won anything as a nation for a long, long time and a lot of these players were part of that as well and they know how tough it is.”

The England men’s team hasn’t won a major tournament since the 1966 World Cup.

Despite the criticism, England are top of Group C at Euro 2024 with four points ahead of their final group game against Slovenia in Cologne on Tuesday.

Kane acknowledged that his performance so far has not been up to his own high standards, but he insisted he is fit amid speculation he may be having back problems.

“Have I played the best that I know I can? No,” Kane said. “But I didn’t score in the group stage of the (2022) World Cup or the group stage in (Euro 2020), so from my point of view, it’s a bonus to be one goal ahead.

“I always judge myself first and of course I know I can play better ... (but) I don’t panic, don’t get too high or too low.”

Kane was subbed off in the second half against the Danes, an unfamiliar sight for fans accustomed to seeing England’s leading goal-scorer on the pitch until the final whistle.

The striker missed Bayern Munich’s final game of the Bundesliga season with a back injury, raising questions about whether he is still carrying a knock.

“The first game I felt as fit as I have all season,” he said.

“I came off in the second game, but that was down to the manager (Gareth Southgate) wanting to see different, and maybe freshen up the front players especially.”

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