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Has Harry Kane Been A Euro Flop?

June 25, 2016

- Grant Whittington

At the start of Euro 2016, Harry Kane was seen as a potential match-winner for England with the ability to achieve truly great things.

He has flattered to deceive in France, however, recording no goals or efforts on target against Russia or during the first half with Wales before being replaced by Jamie Vardy. The Leicester hit-man scored just eight minutes after entering the fray against the Welsh too, restricting Kane to the substitutes bench against Slovakia and just 15 minutes of fruitless action at the end of the game.

At the start of Euro 2016, Harry Kane was seen as a potential match-winner for England with the ability to achieve truly great things.

He has flattered to deceive in France, however, recording no goals or efforts on target against Russia or during the first half with Wales before being replaced by Jamie Vardy. The Leicester hit-man scored just eight minutes after entering the fray against the Welsh too, restricting Kane to the substitutes bench against Slovakia and just 15 minutes of fruitless action at the end of the game.

The Case for Kane

While this makes a compelling argument for Kane to be described as a Euro flop, his performances need to be viewed in context. The young striker has enjoyed two prolific but busy seasons in the English top flight, for example, and may well be jaded after his incredible exploits out on the pitch. He has also suffered as a result of Roy Hodgson’s system and selection, which have left him exposed with little support in the middle.

Against Russia, for example, England lined up in a 4-3-3 formation with Raheem Sterling and Adam Lallana flanking lone striker Kane. While Lallana was bright and energetic, however, both he and Sterling lacked the forward instincts to support and interchange with Kane in the centre. This left the striker isolated and often without service against a deep defensive line, as England’s chances feel to deep-lying midfielders breaking from their respective positions.

These factors have combined to leave Kane out of form and out of favour, with a second round tie against Iceland on the horizon.

Should Kane start against Iceland?

We would argue that these circumstances have genuine merit, and far from labelling Kane a Euro flop we believe that he should start against Iceland. The Icelandic team will sit deep and defend the width of their penalty box, for example, leaving little room in behind for the likes of Vardy, Sturridge and Sterling to exploit.

This means that Roy should include creative players who can provide incision from deep, while also picking a forward who can profit from good deliveries into the penalty. Both of these descriptions apply to the versatile Kane, who still has plenty in the locker to redeem his flailing reputation.

If Roy does not pick Kane, however, the Tottenham strikers tournament could come to an end before it has even begun.

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