Thursday, July 25, 2024

Kane not panicking but acknowledges England´s Euro 2024 struggles

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 23 Jun 2024

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Harry Kane acknowledged England have fallen short of expectations so far at Euro 2024 but insisted there is no need for panic as he likened their start to that of a boxer or major golfer.

Gareth Southgate’s side edged past Serbia in their Group C opener before being held to a disappointing 1-1 draw with Denmark on Thursday.

The Three Lions are still top of their pool and in pole position to qualify as group winners, so long as Southgate’s men overcome Slovenia in Cologne on Tuesday.

Yet frustration has been growing from some quarters of supporters and pundits, with Gary Lineker and a host of former players questioning England’s underwhelming performances and line-up selection.

England captain Kane understands parts of the scrutiny, though sees no need for concern with their Group C destiny in control.

“Momentum is the right word,” the Bayern Munich talisman said at Sunday’s pre-match press conference. “I think if you said where we are now before the tournament, you’d pretty much be qualified after two games, we would have taken it for sure.

“But I think we can be honest with ourselves that we haven’t played the way we’ve wanted to play. I think the good sign is that we’ve still picked up results while doing that.

“Of course, we want to finish top as well and just kind of take that momentum into the knockout stages.”

England are averaging 8.9 shots per game at the Euros under Southgate (80 in nine games). Going into Matchday 3 at this tournament, that is the lowest shots per game any nation has had under a manager to take charge of them in more than five matches at the European Championship on record (since 1980).

Those numbers make for concerning reading for some of the Three Lions faithful, with Kane accepting England have failed to hit their usual heights in Germany this month.

“I think we dropped below what we know we can,” Kane said of the Denmark showing. “But overall, I think we are calm. We have been here before.

“We’ve got a lot of experience. So it’s not a time to panic, but it’s a time to try and improve.

“Especially these early stages, it’s almost like a boxer in the first couple of rounds, just seeing where everyone’s at, seeing how you feel. Or a golfer in a major tournament – okay, it’s the first round, don’t play yourself out of the tournament; just be calm. And that’s kind of where I think where we’re at.

“We’re looking where we can improve, and of course, we know we can improve, but it’s not a time to panic and think we need to change everything.

“We just need a few fine details that I think will help us.”

Kane is no stranger to this major-tournament scrutiny either, with England facing similar at Euro 2024 after a group-stage draw with Scotland, before subsequently reaching the final.

“We’re in a good place, even though we know we haven’t quite reached the levels that we can, but it’s been pretty much how it always is,” Kane continued.

“I think calm is the most important one. A lot of us have been here and done that and we’ve given England fans some fantastic times and I know 99% of the fans are fully behind us and fully with us.

“I always say when it’s finished there will be people judging us. We’ve had some good tournaments, we’ve had some tournaments where we’ve just fallen short.

“During it, it’s down to us as players, as coaching staff, as the whole environment to get it right and find where we can improve.”

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