Harry Kane played down concerns about his fitness after being substituted in England’s 0-0 draw with Scotland and insisted he had not been distracted by the focus on his desire to leave Tottenham this summer.
The England captain, who admitted he was not unbeatable after struggling in last Sunday’s win over Croatia, is adamant that his slow start to Euro 2020 is not due to a lack of sharpness. Kane, substituted against Scotland due to Gareth Southgate’s desire for more energy on offense, stressed he was uninjured and the team’s main source of goals is to shoot when it counts afterwards fading towards the end of the 2018 World Cup.
“Gareth has the right to make the changes he thinks are the best for the team,” Kane said. “What we have learned in tournaments past is to try to reach a top at the right time. The best time to peak is in the knockout stages and hopefully start from there. Maybe in Russia there were times, towards the quarterfinals and semi-finals, where I wasn’t as sharp as I wanted. In the end, we didn’t get to where we wanted to go, perhaps in part for this reason.
“It’s about managing the team, making sure everyone feels as fit and sharp as possible. In my case, it was a few tough games and it’s about making sure I’m right for the rest of them. I had no problem. I didn’t feel that physically I wasn’t up to the task. I felt as good in those games as I have felt all season, if I’m being honest. “
Kane, who is targeted by Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City, has dismissed the idea that publicizing his determination to leave Spurs has affected his performance. “Absolutely not,” said the 27-year-old. “I’m just focusing on how I can help this team and how we can be successful in this tournament. I understand from a media point of view that there is speculation, but I am fully focused on the work here.
Kane, who has scored twice for club and country since recovering from an ankle injury in April, called for patience after the young Southgate side were booed against Scotland . England, who have four points in their first two Group D games, must beat the Czech Republic on Tuesday to ensure they advance to the round of 16 in first place.
“Inside the group it’s time to be calm,” Kane said. “The first objective was to qualify. If you reverse the results and we draw Croatia and beat Scotland and score four points, I don’t think there would be too many arguments.
“We could have played a lot better on Friday night, but these games are not easy. Scotland are playing for their life in this tournament. You don’t just show up and step on teams. You have to play to the best of your ability to win. We didn’t quite do that, but we didn’t lose, which was important.
Kane suggested that England are yet to reach their peak. “I always feel that there are things we can improve, but I also feel that we still have enough capacity and unity to go very far in this tournament”, a- he declared. “We would have loved to win the first two games, beat the Czech Republic, score nine points and sail.
“But sometimes you get a hit when you’re knocked out at the start of the knockout stage because you think everything is fine and there may be a thing or two you missed that you need to work on.” . Sometimes a result like Scotland wakes you up a bit – maybe it opens your eyes to areas that we need to improve. It could be a good thing, which happened to us last night.
Kane suggested that he was still getting along with his fellow abusers. Mason Mount and City’s Raheem Sterling and Phil Foden joined the squad late after playing in the Champions League final between Chelsea and City last month.
“Obviously you don’t get as many games in England as you do in club football,” Kane said. “It might take you a game or two to understand a little better where each other is going to be on the pitch, the runs players do when I fall deep, the people running behind, or vice versa. These two games were a bit like that.
“We’ve had two good clean sheets and that’s what we’re going to go forward with. We’re all proud not to concede, back and forth, and now I think we can improve in the attacking third and be a little more fluid and a little more free and create a few more chances. Then we can be a strong team.