Lineker and Shearer defend criticism of 'terrible' England after Kane rebuke

By Sports Desk June 25, 2024

Former England strikers Gary Lineker and Alan Shearer have defended their criticism of the Three Lions' "terrible" displays at Euro 2024 after Harry Kane said pundits should be more supportive. 

England have four points ahead of their final Group C fixture against Slovenia, though they were uninspired as they laboured to a 1-0 win over Serbia and a 1-1 draw with Denmark.

Their performance in the latter match was fiercely criticised, with Lineker describing the display as "s***" on his 'The Rest is Football' podcast.

England captain Kane hit back at those comments on Sunday, pointing out ex-players like Lineker failed to win international silverware and telling them to be more "helpful".

On Monday's edition of the podcast, Lineker said of Kane's response: "I thought he answered it fine.

"There was one bit there where he says we have responsibilities as ex-England players, that we should know better and that we never won anything or words to that effect.

"Fine, he's absolutely right. But I will say one thing; the last thing in the world we want to be is downbeat and critical. 

"We want the England team to perform well on the pitch. The best punditry of all is when England play well."

 

Shearer was also scathing of Gareth Southgate's team after the Denmark game and has refused to back down, saying: "It's important we never get personal. That's the most important thing.

"They were terrible and we have to say that. If England were brilliant we'd say they were brilliant, that's the way it is.

"As a player you always get the right of reply on the pitch. I have no problem with what we said, I wouldn't take anything back we said.

"England were really poor. I think the vast majority of the country, and even the boys in the squad, will know they were awful against Denmark. There were hardly any positives."

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    The Dominican batsman, in only his second Test series, etched his name in the annals of cricketing history, as he scored a maiden Test century, a knock that not only underscored his talent and grit, but more importantly, revived West Indies hopes of securing a positive result on this occasion.

    Hodge’s 120 off 171 balls, ensured that West Indies, who were hammered by an innings and 114 runs in the first Test at Lord’s, closed the day at 351-5, 65 runs behind heading into Saturday’s third day.

    “It's a dream come true,” Hodge, who made his debut against Australia earlier this year, declared in a post-day press conference.

    “Obviously, playing the game from a youngster growing up, that's something that you want to do, especially at the highest level in England against England. I'm really happy and I'm satisfied about it, especially, also given the position that the team is in, it's always good to help to the team, so I'm grateful for that,” he added.

    Coming to the crease with the West Indies teetering at 84-3, Hodge faced a daunting task, as the Andre Coley-coached side needed a hero –or in this case, two. This, as Hodge had an able partner in his Dominican compatriot Alick Athanaze, who made a well-played 99-ball 82.

    Together, they steadied the innings, with a crucial 175-run fourth-wicket partnership that took the fight to the English bowlers. Hodge played the perfect foil to Athanaze's aggression, rotating the strike and providing the support his teammate needed.

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    “It's always good to know that the friends, family, and the nation is looking on. That's one of the things you want to do as an ambassador for your country, is put them on the map. Always have a positive light for your country. So I'm really grateful for that,” he added in reference to Dominica celebrating their feat.

    Reflecting on his innings, Hodge pointed to the importance of staying focused and taking things in stride. In fact, the 31-year-old even highlights that his current success is a testament to his unflinching desire and resilience, as there were times when being overlooked sparked doubts about his ability to make it to the big stage.

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