EPL

Kane's Spurs struggles put down to upheaval by England boss Southgate

By Sports Desk October 11, 2021

England manager Gareth Southgate believes Harry Kane's underwhelming Tottenham form is at least partly down to upheaval and "changes" at the club, something he has not had to contend with at international level.

Kane finished 2020-21 with more Premier League goals (23) and assists (14) than any other player, becoming the first to top both charts in a single season since Andy Cole in 1993-94.

But after unsuccessfully attempting to force a move away from Spurs in pre-season, Kane's productivity and decisiveness have taken a massive hit.

In six league games this term, he is without a single goal – the last time Kane went more Premier League appearances games without a goal was eight matches between April and October 2014.

Some have put his struggles down to playing under a new head coach in Nuno Espirito Santo, and Southgate agrees that upheaval can have an impact, particularly if a manager implements a change of system.

"What's going on with his club is none of my business, really," Southgate said told reporters ahead of Tuesday's World Cup qualifier against Hungary.

"There's a lot changes at the club, a new manager and new tactical formations, so like all players there will be an adaptation to that.

"In terms of what we ask him to do, I think we've obviously got a settled way of playing here. His team-mates know him, he knows his team-mates, he knows the patterns of play that we play towards.

"I can't talk about the club, but I think he feels settled in our environment. It's an environment where he knows we have belief, but we have to push him. We want improvement from the team all the time.

"Of course, as the captain, he knows he has to set the standard in the training sessions every day as well. I can't fault his application and dedication to what we're doing. He's got a real desire to go well with us."

Kane's form with England certainly is not of concern, however.

He has scored in each of his previous 15 World Cup and European Championship qualifying appearances and is closing in on a number of goals records.

Firstly, he is just one away from equalling England's all-time record for most competitive goals (Wayne Rooney, 37).

And after that Kane – whose overall goals tally for England is 41 – will undoubtedly have his eye on the most sought-after England record of them all: Rooney's unrivalled haul of 53.

The only other players to have scored more for England than the current captain are Jimmy Greaves (44), Gary Lineker (48) and Bobby Charlton (49) – to be anywhere near such feats further highlights just how reliable Kane is for the Three Lions.

"When you compare with the five or six other players at the top of that scoring chart, and you look at those names, it's a reminder of how much Harry has already achieved at a personal level," Southgate continued.

"And I know what's been more important to him, it's the team getting to two semi-finals and a final. Without a doubt, he's a player who has to keep proving himself.

"I think he knows that, I think he relishes that, and we know that when those chances fall, you've got huge faith they're going to hit the back of the net, such is his technical ability and his mentality and calmness when those chances come."

Related items

  • Ramos to begin PSG training next week, but Verratti out for a month Ramos to begin PSG training next week, but Verratti out for a month

    Paris Saint-Germain have confirmed Sergio Ramos is expected to rejoin first-team training next week following an injury lay-off, but Marco Verratti will be out of action for roughly a month.

    Ramos joined PSG on a free transfer from Real Madrid in pre-season, having spent 16 years at the Santiago Bernabeu.

    The experienced centre-back was part of something of a squad revolution at the Parc des Princes, with Lionel Messi, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Georginio Wijnaldum and Achraf Hakimi also moving to Paris.

    But Ramos is yet to make his PSG debut after suffering a calf injury at the end of July, having also missed large chunks of 2020-21 due to fitness issues, including a previous calf problem.

    PSG have been cautious about reintroducing Ramos to training, eager to avoid aggravating the injury, but it appears he is finally close to making his debut.

    "Sergio Ramos' recovery programme, coordinated by the medical staff, is evolving as planned," read a medical update on PSG's website.

    "He is expected to be able to begin training with the rest of the squad next week."

    But Verratti is set for a spell on the sidelines with a hip injury, which the club believe could take a month to recover from.

    As such, the Italy international will likely miss their next five matches across all competitions, potentially including PSG's two upcoming Champions League clashes with RB Leipzig and Manchester City.

    "After suffering a knock in the last game, Marco Verratti has a deep lesion in the oblique muscles of his left hip. He is expected to be out for four weeks, depending on how the injury evolves," the update added.

    PSG also revealed Kylian Mbappe is a doubt for Friday's visit of Lille due to illness – he is to be evaluated over the next couple of days.

  • Man Utd boss Solskjaer takes training as club hold off making a change Man Utd boss Solskjaer takes training as club hold off making a change

    Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took training at Manchester United on Tuesday as the under-pressure manager looked set to avoid losing his job for now.

    A 5-0 defeat at home to Liverpool on Sunday was the lowest point of the Norwegian's time in charge, with a third loss of the Premier League season leaving United eight points behind early leaders Chelsea.

    His first-team squad reassembled at the club's Carrington training base two days on from that debacle, with Solskjaer still at the helm. He reportedly arrived early in the morning to put his players through their paces.

    Senior United officials are said to have held a meeting on Monday, with executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward joined by managing director Richard Arnold and co-chairman Joel Glazer.

    United have repeatedly backed the Norwegian, who took over from Jose Mourinho in December 2018, initially as an interim appointment. They consider the former United striker an ideal figurehead, and Solskjaer remains a popular figure among supporters, even with those who want a change of manager.

    The Guardian reported on Tuesday that Solskjaer still retains the support of Woodward, Arnold and United's influential former manager Alex Ferguson, with Joel Glazer set to have the final say. Similarly, The Telegraph said Solskjaer has been given three games to show he should be retained.

    United would be wary of removing Solskjaer if there is no suitable candidate available to replace the 48-year-old, and early signs point to him likely remaining in charge for the Premier League clash with Tottenham on Saturday. That is followed by games against Atalanta and Manchester City.

    Former Chelsea, Inter, Juventus and Italy boss Antonio Conte has been linked as a possible successor and is said to be open to the idea; however, Zinedine Zidane would not be interested in the job, according to reports in Spain, where he had two spells in charge of Real Madrid.

    Solskjaer's disappointment after the Old Trafford defeat was plain, as he said: "I have never felt any worse than this. This is the lowest I have been. I accept the responsibility. That is mine today and it is mine going forward.

    "I do believe in myself and I am getting close to what we want at the club. The results lately haven't been good enough. Hands up. Next week is Tottenham away. Then Atalanta. Then Man City. We have to go into this with the right frame of mind."

    In July, Solskjaer signed a new three-year contract at United, and the club backed him as Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane joined during the transfer window.

    He has an average points-per-game record of 1.83, which is the third highest in United's Premier League history. In that respect he only trails his predecessor Mourinho (1.89) and the long-serving Ferguson (2.16).

    Solskjaer has a 51.89 per cent win record from his 106 Premier League games in charge of the Red Devils to date.

  • If a day comes where I don't enjoy it, I'll go and play golf – Koeman reaffirms commitment to Barcelona If a day comes where I don't enjoy it, I'll go and play golf – Koeman reaffirms commitment to Barcelona

    Ronald Koeman says he has no intention of stepping down as Barcelona head coach.

    Koeman has endured a difficult start to the new season, with Barca ninth in LaLiga and suffering back-to-back Champions League group stage defeats for the first time since 2000-01.

    The Catalan side went down 2-1 to Real Madrid on Sunday, Koeman becoming just the second manager to lose all three of his opening El Clasico meetings.

    Koeman's car was mobbed by fans as he left Camp Nou following that defeat to Barca's fierce rivals.

    However, the former Netherlands boss assured that he remains committed to his role as he prepares to take on Rayo Vallecano, who Barca have won their last 13 LaLiga games against.

    "I am older in this, I want to enjoy the atmosphere that there was the other day on the field [for El Clasico]," Koeman told reporters at Tuesday's pre-match news conference.

    "I accept the results. I want to enjoy [my time here], if it is eight years, if it is one year and yes if it's three months.

    "There are things as a coach that you don't like, but I like being with the players, preparing the games, analysing and having to decide is what I like.

    "The other day I loved the game, Not the result because it was a Clasico, but the atmosphere. We made merits for another result, we need a little luck.

    "These things are the ones I like, and if a day comes when I don't enjoy it, I'll go and dedicate myself to playing golf five days a week. I understand that it is a delicate situation, but there is a future in this club."

    Barca are winless in three LaLiga away games, failing to score in their last two trips. They have not gone three consecutive games on the road without scoring since February 2003.

    The Blaugrana, however, have won on their past two visits to newly-promoted top-flight teams without conceding a goal and Koeman appreciates the importance of a reaction on Wednesday.

    "There is always a need to win, especially after the defeat the other day," he continued. "The team is able to react well."

    Asked whether he was not enjoying his time with Barca and whether a new coach would withstand the pressure he is under, Koeman responded: "It depends, if the results are good or bad and the team you are in.

    "[Madrid boss Carlo] Ancelotti encouraged me, he knows perfectly well about the situation because he has been in great teams.

    "I don't know, it is important to know the situation, be a former player from here and have character if the wind comes against. I am like that and I want to see how far I can go."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.