Kane's England contribution about more than goals, says Trippier

By Sports Desk June 17, 2024

Harry Kane offers more to England than simply goals, says Kieran Trippier, who is not concerned about the striker's lack of touches in Sunday's 1-0 win over Serbia.

Jude Bellingham's goal was the difference as England recorded a hard-fought victory to open their Group C campaign, meaning they have started all four of their major tournaments under Gareth Southgate with a win. 

However, their performance attracted criticism from some quarters as England managed just five shots to Serbia's six, accumulating a total of 0.52 expected goals (xG).

Kane was a victim of the cagey nature of the contest, recording fewer touches (24) and successful passes (nine) than any other England starter. 

Goalkeeper Jordan Pickford at least doubled both of those tallies, having 48 touches and completing 25 passes.

Kane did go close to giving England a two-goal cushion in the second half as he saw a header tipped onto the crossbar by Predrag Rajkovic, but Trippier says he should not be judged purely on goals.

"Obviously it was difficult because they played five at the back, but what people don't realise is what Harry does off the ball," Trippier told reporters in the mixed zone.

"Of course, he scores goals but what he did for the team today was incredible, holding the ball up and bringing other players into play. 

"People just focus on goals with Harry but internally, as team-mates, we appreciate what he does off the ball."

England have, however, kept five successive clean sheets in group-stage matches at the Euros, the longest such run in the competition's history.

 

"I would say it's about managing the game," Trippier continued. "There will always be moments in games where the opposition will have a spell of 10 or 15 minutes of possession. 

"It's about being nice and compact and not conceding. We have got experienced players in the group like [Kyle] Walker, Harry, myself, players that can help the younger players manage the games. I thought we did that tonight."

Fans were hoping to see a free-flowing England display after watching Germany and Spain kick off with resounding wins, but their figure of 0.52 xG is the fourth-lowest of any team to have played at Euro 2024 thus far, after Scotland (0.02), Serbia (0.18) and Albania (0.51).

However, Jarrod Bowen – who teed up Kane's big second-half chance – is not worried about the performances of other nations.

"We are so focused on ourselves and what we can do, other teams are irrelevant. They are their countries and we are England," he said.

"We focus on ourselves and our focus was to win the game not because other teams won, but because it was a statement for us to win the first game going into Thursday.

"That was our mindset coming into this game and that will be it, full focus on us."

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