Wednesday, July 24, 2024

England back Kane to prove critics wrong against Netherlands

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 9 Jul 2024

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Harry Kane’s England team-mates have backed their captain to regain his top form in their semi-final against the Netherlands on Wednesday.

Kane has scored twice at the tournament so far, with one of those a vital winner in the first minute of extra time against Slovakia, but has otherwise failed to show a clinical edge.

He managed just two shots against Switzerland in the quarter-finals before being forced off in extra time, managing an expected goals of just 0.12.

Kane’s performances have drawn criticism, with some calling for him to be dropped for their game against the Netherlands.

However, Trent Alexander-Arnold brushed off the idea, claiming that would play into their opponents’ hands.

“Anyone who is facing England would like to see Harry Kane not playing,” the defender told reporters.

“You just know he is a threat. Anything in and around the box, you need to be on red alert.

“He can finish it from every angle. I always say he is the best finisher I’ve seen or played with. He can drop down and build play up and his hold-up play is incredible too.”

England are playing in their third major tournament semi-final under Gareth Southgate, with Kane scoring the winning goal to take them to the final of the Euros three years ago.

The striker has also scored the joint-most knockout stage goals in the competition’s history, five, along with Antoine Griezmann.

And after finishing as the top-scorer in the Bundesliga last season, Phil Foden has full confidence Kane will regain his goalscoring touch.

“You can’t really doubt him,” he told Standard Sport. “He’s been unbelievable for us in so many tournaments, and he’s already scored a crucial goal in this tournament.

“Hopefully, he can prove a lot of people wrong and do what he does best: put the ball into the back of the net. We’re all behind him, we all believe in him.

“The way teams have been playing, there’s been a low block and the spaces are tight, so it’s difficult for him to find space.

“I’ve seen that with Erling [Haaland] at club level. Sometimes it’s nearly impossible for him to score because they’ve got two players man-marking him.

“Kane’s a leader, he does a lot of work off the ball that people don’t see. He’s a valuable player and if we’re going to win it, we’re definitely going to need him.”

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