Jose Mourinho says Harry Kane must start as “he is the best” and says this sort of “noise” only happens in England.
Kane has looked isolated and unthreatening in England’s opening two games of Euro 2020, with some calling for the captain to be replaced for the final group game against the Czech Republic.
But Mourinho has dismissed the notion, insisting the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Kylian Mbappe and Romelu Lukaku would not be experiencing the same backlash were they misfiring.
Mourinho said in his column for The Sun: ‘Gareth Southgate has said Harry Kane will start tonight and of course he will start, because he is the best.
‘Only in England would you have a little bit of this noise of the best player, the captain, the top goalscorer, to be on the bench because he didn’t score a goal in two or three matches.
‘I don’t think you have the same noise if Cristiano Ronaldo doesn’t score for Portugal or Kylian Mbappe for France or Romelu Lukaku for Belgium.
‘With Harry, I would ask, ‘How many chances has he missed?’ Zero. ‘How many crosses have been delivered to him?’ Zero. ‘How many vertical passes into his feet, in between the lines?’ Zero. How many times has he had triangles with the two wingers coming inside and making that combination with him?’ Zero.
‘In Portugal, everyone is blaming Nelson Semedo for Portugal losing to Germany because the goals arrived down his side, but the situation would have been the same whoever was right-back.
‘It was not Semedo but the situation Semedo was put in.
‘For Gareth to take off Harry with 15 minutes to go against Scotland was absolutely normal, to bring a fresh player to try to create a new problem.
‘He went with Marcus Rashford, or he could have done it with Dominic Calvert-Lewin, because he is better in the air, but the game was more tight so he tried with Rashford.
‘That’s normal if you have good players on the bench. The rules allow for five changes. You have 12 players and a bench full of talent.
‘You look to the left and to the right and you could even feel confused — Rashford or Calvert-Lewin? Grealish or Jadon Sancho?
‘It’s normal with 15 minutes to go, I don’t think there’s any problem with that.
‘But you leave Kane out of the starting line-up and play who? Calvert-Lewin? Good player. Rashford? Good player.
‘But Harry Kane is the best.’