Southgate told only one England star can best out of Harry Kane as trio causing striker problems

Will Ford
Southgate Kane England
Southgate 'has to play' one England star to help Harry Kane.

Darren Anderton has named the only England player he believes can get the best out of Harry Kane after the striker’s stuttering start to Euro 2024.

Kane scored the opener in the 1-1 draw with Denmark but has looked well short of his best for Southgate’s side in Germany, with many fans calling for the captain to be dropped for the last 16 clash with Slovakia.

The 30-year-old was taking injections in his back in the latter stages of his debut campaign for Bayern Munich and his game time was limited in the friendlies ahead of the tournament. He doesn’t look fit.

Gordon ‘has to play’

Anderton, who won 30 caps for England, doesn’t believe Kane should be left out, but reckons Newcastle star Anthony Gordon “has to play” if we’re to see the best of him.

“For me, we need to stretch the pitch now, the movement is not good enough and everybody is coming to the ball and we end up playing in such a small area,” Anderton told Metro.

“You want to make the pitch big when you’ve got the ball, so you need people to run in behind. Harry used to do that at Spurs but doesn’t do that anymore, so you need someone like Son would do at Spurs.

“What I took away from that game [against Slovenia] was that Gordon has to play in that team in order to create the right balance. It probably means that Gareth has to make some big decisions.”

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Trio getting in Kane’s way

Anderton believes Kane is struggling without someone alongside him to stretch the play, and is being hampered by three of his teammates all looking to play in the deeper positions he likes to take up.

“You have to have someone that will run in behind,” Anderton continued. “As a centre-back, if you know the ball isn’t going in behind you, you can get as tight as you like but if they have the worry of someone running in behind them they might get a little deeper and create more space for Harry to come into the hole and play like Teddy used to.

“Harry can do that but there’s no space for him to come into at the moment, because Foden is trying to get in there, Saka’s coming inside, Bellingham is in there.

“You need to stretch the play and it is a big, big decision, but Gordon is the only one I see doing that.”

England not only avoided the Netherlands in the last 16 thanks to Georgia, but are also in the far easier half of the draw, meaning they can’t meet any of Germany, France, Portugal or Spain until the final.

“You always want the easier draw, but I felt like it would have done us good to play the Netherlands and to see exactly where we are,” Anderton added.

“I’d say Gareth is a pretty lucky manager with the draws that we keep getting, and we have to take advantage of it finally. Three games so far and not played well, we’ve won the group and now we play Slovakia in the knockout stage – you can’t ask for anything more than that.”