Jamie Carragher thinks Harry Kane must face the “new reality” that he could be substituted in every match for England and has little chance of winning the Golden Boot at Euro 2020.
Three years on from the heartbreaking World Cup semi-final loss to Croatia, the Three Lions exacted some sort of revenge by giving Zlatko Dalic’s men a bloody nose at the start of Euro 2020.
Raheem Sterling’s first tournament goal – and England’s first at Wembley in front of fans since November 2019 – was enough to secure a 1-0 win in sweltering conditions.
Kane had a disappointing day for Gareth Southgate’s side with his only real sight on goal seeing him clatter into the post. The stretcher was brought out as the striker was treated, but he got back up to a hearty cheer.
However, he was subbed with eight minutes to go as Jude Bellingham replaced him and in doing so became the youngest player to ever feature in the competition.
And Carragher thinks “Kane is playing like he wants to be Teddy Sheringham more than Alan Shearer” and has little chance of winning the Golden Boot.
Carragher wrote in his column for the Daily Telegraph: “Two thoughts occurred to me as Gareth Southgate prepared to bring on Jude Bellingham in the 82nd minute of England’s encouraging open win.
“The first was that he had to take off Harry Kane. The second was that it should have happened 10 minutes earlier.
“Kane barely featured in the victory and looked exhausted. Brave as it seems for an England manager to substitute his captain, it was the right and obvious call.
“This may become the new reality for Kane. England can get the most from him with a premeditated plan, demanding he give everything for 65-70 minutes before being replaced by fresh legs.
“The days of keeping him on the pitch so he can make the most of every minute in pursuit of the Golden Boot are over.
“Whatever approach Gareth Southgate takes – and whatever happens for the rest of the tournament – we must adjust to the fact that this is not the same Kane who went to the 2018 World Cup in Russia and fulfilled his ambition to be the leading goalscorer.
“More importantly, the England captain must accept that, too.
“For him, this competition cannot be about going into a shoot-out with the likes of Belgium’s Romelu Lukaku or Italy’s Ciro Immobile.
“They play as dynamic No 9s. Kane no longer does. He spent most of his time against Croatia dropping deep and trying to link the play in midfield, which is why he spent so little time in the penalty area.
“If you want the Euro ’96 memories to keep coming, Kane is playing like he wants to be Teddy Sheringham more than Alan Shearer.
“That fundamental change in his game over the past two years is due to necessity, not design.
“Kane does not lead the press, chase down the full-backs and try to play off the shoulder of the last defender any more.
“He has become a different player because he no longer has the energy and pace he possessed when he was 24 under Mauricio Pochettino.”