Harry Kane’s display of smartness saves England.

Harry Kane’s display of smartness saves England.

Harry Kane’s Heroics Salvage a Draw for England

Debate Over Kane’s Role

The ongoing debate regarding Harry Kane’s role for the England national team received another reminder of his versatility and importance. As the captain, Kane often faces scrutiny for dropping deep to get involved in play, deviating from the traditional No9 position. However, his performance in the 1-1 draw against Ukraine demonstrated his value to the team.

Kane’s Moment of Brilliance

Amidst a lackluster performance by England, it was Kane’s moment of brilliance that stood out. Just before half-time, he delivered an inch-perfect assist to Kyle Walker, who scored his first England goal. This pass showcased Kane’s ability to not only score goals but also create opportunities for his teammates.

A Multifaceted Kane

Kane’s performance emphasized that he possesses the skills to be both a goal-scorer and a chief creator for England. This versatility should be seen as an asset for Gareth Southgate’s squad, rather than a concern.

Maddison’s Frustration

James Maddison, chosen ahead of Phil Foden and Marcus Rashford for his first competitive England start, had a challenging evening. Playing in a free role from the left, he struggled to exert his influence, likely due to Kane occupying similar areas. Maddison’s frustration was evident when he received a first-half booking for a petulant kick.

A Limited Opportunity for Maddison

Maddison’s substitution after 66 minutes by Foden left him feeling despondent, knowing he has more to offer in an England shirt. However, with the depth of Southgate’s squad, such opportunities may be limited.

Tactical Questions

The question now is whether there is room for a player like Maddison to operate alongside Kane in the front three. England has often looked most balanced and threatening with direct wingers running beyond Kane. A more daring approach would involve using Maddison in the midfield three, as Ange Postecoglou does for Spurs.

Safe Selection and Future Experiments

Southgate’s selection, sticking with experienced players like Jordan Henderson, raised questions about his conservatism. England’s display, while improved in the second half, left doubts about their adaptability. The upcoming friendly against Scotland offers a chance for experimentation, and including Maddison or Foden in the midfield three could be an exciting response to the team’s first setback in Euro 2024 qualifying.

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