My Harry Kane gamble: England manager Gareth Southgate ready to throw his captain in for Nations League semi-final against Holland
- Gareth Southgate wants Harry Kane as an option for England’s game vs Holland
- Kane has been out since April 9 but could be available for clash on June 6
- The striker was included in England’s provisional squad for the Nations League
No guesses for the one player Gareth Southgate says he would take to the Nations League finals when doubts remain about his fitness.
Harry Kane has scored 17 goals in 20 appearances for the England manager, and one suspects that celebratory run across the pitch in Amsterdam was enough to book his place in Portugal.
Ideally Kane will play some part in the Champions League final in Madrid, and so prove he has indeed recovered from an ankle injury he suffered on April 9.
Gareth Southgate is ready to play Harry Kane against Holland in the Nations League on June 6
Tottenham striker Kane hasn’t played since suffering an ankle injury on April 9
However this is Southgate’s captain as well as his most predatory forward, and he clearly wants him as an option for that semi-final encounter with Holland on June 6.
Southgate plans to leave the England camp to attend the contest between Liverpool and Tottenham that could involve nine of the players he named in an extended 27-man squad on Thursday, giving him the opportunity to make a personal assessment of the players he then hopes can end that 53-year wait for a second international senior trophy.
Yet asked at Wembley on Thursday if he thought it necessary for Kane to feature at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium on June 1, Southgate replied: ‘I don’t think it is an absolute he has to play there or he is not ready four days later. We are just going to have to play it by ear because he is not going to have had a game prior to that point.
‘But where there are one or two others we need to know a lot more about in the next week, he is one I will make an exception for in that I will see how it goes in the final week.’
Kane is aiming to feature for Tottenham in the Champions League final on June 1
Southgate revealed he will draw on his experience in football when assessing his squad
Kane certainly won’t be suffering with the mental fatigue that can become a factor for players at the end of the season, something that Southgate will be looking for when his players do finally report to him in the wake of either a tense title race, the FA Cup final, the Europa League final or the biggest game of the lot.
Southgate will draw on his experience in football when it comes to assessing his squad — what he refers to as ‘feel’.
‘In the end you’re 30 years in football and the knowledge of what it is to go into those big matches and come out on either side, that has to guide you,’ he said.
‘We know the individual players really well, so we can sense when they are feeling in the right place and when they are not. You pick some of that up on the training pitch but you pick a lot up from conversations and body language and they can’t hide.
‘I think as a coach, one of the biggest things is to observe well and you are constantly watching them and observing their behaviours.’
Contrary to what some might think, it is not as simple as scrutinising the losers in Madrid more than the winners.
‘I wouldn’t say the guys that win are going to be fine and ready for a game either,’ he said.
‘They will have had an enormous high and that needs a lot of refocusing on to another challenge in a very small space of time.
‘It’s not as straightforward as those that win are great and ready to go.
‘Those that lose might be ready to get out there and ready to fight and we just have to monitor that, but we have got to prepare with the rest as though we have none of them available and go from there and then make decisions as the guys start to arrive.’
A few extra names in a squad that will be cut down to 23 by May 27 meant there was a place on Thursday for Southampton’s Nathan Redmond.
Harry Winks, who had groin surgery last month, is another player Southgate is prepared to take a risk on fitness-wise.
Jesse Lingard also makes the cut despite withdrawing from the last squad with injury, only to then turn out the following weekend for Manchester United.
In the case of United defender Luke Shaw, however, there is clearly not so much credit in the bank. Ben Chilwell and Danny Rose are Southgate’s left backs because they have been ‘committed to the England shirt over the last period of time’. The message was loud and clear.
Nathan Redmond has been named in England’s provisional squad for the Nations League finals