Southgate should rest 'leggy' Kane against Wales - Shearer

By Sports Desk November 26, 2022 381

Gareth Southgate should rest Harry Kane for England's final Group B match against Wales, according to former Three Lions captain Alan Shearer.

Kane claimed the Golden Boot after scoring six goals in the 2018 World Cup, becoming the first England player to win the award since Gary Lineker 32 years earlier.

The Three Lions skipper did not register a shot on target in the Three Lions' 6-2 thrashing of Iran or the goalless draw with the United States in Qatar.

Shearer thinks Callum Wilson might start instead of Kane against Wales on Tuesday, when Southgate's side will be expected to seal their place in the round of 16.

H said in his BBC column: "I am not overly concerned about that statistic [Kane not having a shot on target], because we know the provider role Harry plays for this England team, even when he is not scoring himself. But watching him against the United States, it was clear something wasn't right. 

"He came through that scare about his ankle before the US game but, after playing a big part in an impressive team performance in the Iran game with two assists, he looked very tired and very leggy to me.

"It might be time to think about getting him right for the knockout stages, and I have a sneaky feeling Callum Wilson might come in to face Wales on Tuesday instead.

"England need to freshen things up anyway, to get the feel-good factor back after the disappointment of our draw with the US, and restore a bit of confidence."

England were fortunate to escape with a point against the USA on Friday, with Southgate raising eyebrows by keeping Phil Foden on the bench.

Shearer added: "I can understand why Gareth stuck with the same team that had stuck six goals past Iran. But, after that, I can't see him doing the same again in our final game in Group B.

"After the euphoria of our first game, everyone was expecting, wanting and hoping that it would be a similar story against the US. It wasn't, it was actually really flat.

"You have to give great credit to the US, because they stopped us from playing, as well as playing well themselves.

"But of course, it was disappointing that we were not able to change the direction of the game with the attacking options we had on the bench.

"I was quite surprised one or two players did not come on at half-time because we were playing poorly. Our plan wasn't working and one or two players looked tired.

"There are going to be games at this tournament where, for whatever reason, we need to change our personnel or tactics, or both, to try to win them."

Despite their disappointing display, England would seal top spot in Group B with victory over a Wales side that that must win to have any chance of progressing.

And Shearer is confident a similarly positive display to that in the opening game against Iran will get Southgate's side back on track.

"The last team to go through a World Cup and win all seven games was Brazil, 20 years ago," he stated.

"Everyone who goes deep into the tournament usually hits a bump in the road during the group stage and, while that performance wasn't great, we are still in a very strong position.

"I'd really expect us to beat Wales and go through as winners of our group, which was always the aim.

"It won't be easy, of course. Wales' situation means they have to win to have any chance of getting out of the group, and then you have the rivalry you encounter whenever the home nations play each other which adds another element to the game.

"It's pretty obvious what I want to see now - the same attacking outlook, ideas and energy we showed in the Iran game. If we do that, we will be back on track for the next part of this World Cup."

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Last modified on Saturday, 26 November 2022 13:14
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