Roy Hodgson has defended his controversial decision to select Harry Kane to take England’s corners as he prepares to face the striker for the first time since Euro 2016.
The prolific Kane’s presence outside of the penalty area for so many of England’s set-piece situations was something for which Hodgson was most widely criticised during and after the final days of his reign as the national team’s manager.
He gave the striker his international debut and selected him at a time when competition for places was intense, and to the extent his captain Wayne Rooney was used in central midfield.
Kane will again be Tottenham’s greatest goalscoring threat when Crystal Palace visit them at Wembley in the Premier League on Sunday, but asked of that criticism, Hodgson responded: “There wasn’t a lot to criticise at the time; we weren’t playing too badly.
“There has got to be something to talk about, hasn’t there, and looking at statistics at the time, Harry didn’t score goals (from corners). He had scored only one all season, I think.
“You want the best technician in delivery and we thought we would get the best deliverer of the ball delivering, because we had a few other players who were good at attacking the ball in the penalty area.
“That’s one thing you have to accept: that in 95 minutes of football, an inability to win could be encapsulated by who takes corners, or not doing your throw-ins correctly.
“It’s more complicated than that and had we had someone else on corners, and Harry in the middle, it wouldn’t have made one bit of difference to our results.”