Saturday, July 21, 2018

Can Harry Kane hit the ground running at World Cup 2018?

David Nugent in Editorial, World Cup 18 Jun 2018

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On Monday night, England kick-off their World Cup campaign against Tunisia in the Volgograd Arena. The Three Lions squad has seemed relaxed and the preparations seem to have been good.

However, all the preparations sometimes go out of the window when it comes to the action on the pitch. Often a team has a player who is a match-winner. In captain Harry Kane, England has such a player, who will be desperate to make an early impact on the tournament.

Prolific in front of goal

At club level, Kane has been a prolific scorer of goals for Tottenham. In fact, the 24-year-old has won the Premier League Golden Boot in two of the last three seasons. Only Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah scored more goals in the English top-flight last season than Kane’s 30.

Quite simply he is a goalscoring machine. Kane’s international record is not terrible either, as he has scored 13 times in just 23 appearances. Kane’s goalscoring record is impressive by most players’ standards.

His talents would not look out of place in most teams in the world. He is that good in front of goal. There are few out and out central strikers in the European game with his level of consistency in front of goal.

Needs to turn up this time around

Euro 2016 turned into a nightmare for England and the players. Kane received criticism as he failed to score in France. For some reason, Kane was taking the Three Lions corner kicks, which led to bemusement amongst most onlookers.

It seems unlikely that Kane will be on corner kick duties at Russia 2018. He will be more interested in being on the end of the set-pieces than taking them. The Spurs star will be determined to make an impact this time around.

The signs are good for Kane to produce this summer. The striker has scored eight goals in his last seven appearances for the Three Lions. Kane is a player who comes across as confident in his own ability without being arrogant.

The striker will know that he needs to perform if England are going to have any chance of advancing to the latter stages of the competition. If Kane can hit the ground running in the group stages, then the Three Lions will be confident of making the knockout stages at Russia 2018 and enjoy relative success at the competition.

England cannot afford complacency

The expectation on the England team at World Cup 2018 is very low. The main reason for the lack of expectation is the fact the Three Lions is a relatively young team. Another reason for pessimism amongst the fans is recent history in the competition.

The two opening games of the group against Tunisia and Panama seem very winnable. However, Southgate’s team cannot afford to be complacent, especially in Monday night’s game.

England are the favourites to win against Tunisia at odds of 4/9. The North African side will not be pushovers, though. Nabil Maaloul’s side has only lost once in their last ten international games.

Tunisia’s strength is widely regarded as their defensive displays. They are likely to be difficult to break down and stay solid. England will need to be patient and perform or they could start the competition with a negative result.

The build-up to the competition has been very positive for Gareth Southgate’s team. However, any slip-up will lead to widespread criticism of the players and the coaching staff.

Harry Kane producing his best form could be the key to England producing a positive result. If he performs then more than likely the Three Lions will make a winning start to their World Cup campaign.

Can Harry Kane hit the ground running at World Cup 2018?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Nugent


David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.

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