Tottenham and England are set for a spell without talisman Harry Kane following his injury.

The striker suffered a ruptured tendon of his left hamstring and will require surgery, meaning he is not expected back in Spurs training until April.

With Jose Mourinho's men off the pace in the Premier League while England prepare for Euro 2020, the news comes as a blow to both club and country.

Using Opta data, we take a look at just how Kane's absence impacts both Tottenham and England.

 

SHOT-SHY

It should come as no surprise that Spurs and England shoot less often when Kane is not playing, with the forward boasting the ability and willingness to score from just about anywhere.

But Kane is also a wonderful playmaker, often dropping deep to create space and pick passes for runners such as Son Heung-min, Lucas Moura, Raheem Sterling or Marcus Rashford.

Since the start of the 2014-15 season, Kane has played 187 Premier League matches, in which Tottenham averaged 15.6 shots per game. In the 24 fixtures he has missed, that figure drops to 14.9 shots per game.

The difference is more marked with England. Since his international debut in March 2015, the Three Lions have attempted 15.1 shots per game with Kane in the side (45 matches) and 12.3 without (16 matches).

 

GOALS DRY UP – AT BOTH ENDS...

So it follows that with fewer shots come fewer goals. Spurs and England certainly feel Kane's absence when it comes to putting the ball in the net.

The London club have scored 359 times across his Premier League matches since 2014-15, an average of 1.9 per game. They net 1.3 per game without him.

England score a hugely impressive average of 2.3 goals per game – 103 in total – when the top scorer in Euro 2020 qualifying is involved. That drops to that same mark of 1.3 when he is missing.

Interestingly, though, England's defence is statistically meaner when Kane is absent, conceding 0.5 goals per game, down from 0.9.

Tottenham concede roughly one goal per game regardless of their front man's availability.

 

WINNING WOES

Tottenham were already struggling to finish in the top four in this season's Premier League with Kane in the side, so Mourinho really has his work cut out now.

Their top-flight win rate since 2014-15 falls from 57.2 per cent to a relatively ordinary 45.8 per cent when Kane is not involved.

They have lost seven of the 24 games he has not been involved in, while their points return drops from 1.9 per game to 1.6.

Although England may concede more often on average with Kane on the pitch, they are a much better side going forward when they can count on their captain, winning 64.4 per cent of matches with him compared to 50 per cent without.

Harry Kane is not expected to return to training until April in a huge blow to both Tottenham and England.

The Spurs striker suffered a ruptured tendon in his left hamstring in the Premier League defeat to Southampton this month, and the club confirmed on Thursday he would undergo surgery.

The latest estimate for Kane's lay-off should concern Tottenham fans, with the team sixth and six points off a Champions League place, while England manager Gareth Southgate will also be worried as Euro 2020 approaches.

So, will Spurs stick or twist in the transfer market? And does Southgate have an alternative to his talismanic captain?

SON TO THE FORE AT SPURS?

Jose Mourinho had insisted prior to this injury he had little interest in January business. While that must surely change with this news, Tottenham have rarely been willing to spend big in recent seasons.

Might their new head coach instead tinker with his existing options, then? Son Heung-min would appear the obvious candidate to take on Kane's striking role.

The winger started up front at Middlesbrough in the FA Cup on Sunday and deputised well for Kane for a stretch last season, prompting suggestions the South Korea star might play better without his most lethal attacking team-mate.

Lucas Moura, who also led the line in Kane's absence last season, and Dele Alli are options to join Son in attack, while Troy Parrott – 17 years old with just two senior appearances to his name – would hope to be handed a more prominent role.

 

PIPPING RIVALS TO PIATEK?

Spurs finally looked to have suitable cover for Kane in the form of Fernando Llorente last season, only for the veteran to depart for Napoli on a free at the end of the campaign.

Now, Tottenham are not the only English side searching for goals in the mid-season transfer window, with Newcastle United, Aston Villa and Crystal Palace all short in that department, but Mourinho's men should have the profile to blow those rivals out of the water.

One man linked with Spurs, Newcastle and Villa in recent days is Krzysztof Piatek, the Milan striker now at risk of slipping to the fringes of the Rossoneri first team following Zlatan Ibrahimovic's return to San Siro.

Piatek was one of Europe's form strikers last season and, while his goals tally is far more modest this term – he only has four in 18 appearances in Serie A – Tottenham may have little choice but to take a risk. Milan reportedly want £30million rather than a loan.

 

ENGLAND U-TURN FOR VARDY?

Kane was the leading scorer in Euros qualifying with 12 goals and had been set to star for England in a finals tournament that will feature seven matches, including the semi-finals and final, on home soil at Wembley.

But perhaps Southgate is better equipped than Mourinho to deal with the absence of his key striker, with four of the Premier League's top five marksmen this term eligible for England.

Leading the way with 17 goals is Jamie Vardy, who has not featured for his country since the 2018 World Cup, citing in part his reduced role behind Kane in the pecking order as he stepped away from international football.

Yet with Kane facing a race against time to be fit for the finals, Vardy might now find himself a prominent figure if he could be tempted back into the squad.

 

FIVE YEARS ON, ANOTHER INGS CAP?

England are not short of options, as the Golden Boot race suggests, with Tammy Abraham in top form and both Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling capable of playing through the middle.

But Danny Ings will surely see this as his opportunity to add to his sole Three Lions cap earned in 2015 – he replaced Kane from the bench on that occasion – before awful injury troubles at Liverpool.

The Southampton striker, who scored the only goal in the game Kane suffered his injury, is enjoying the best season of his top-flight career, scoring 13 times already.

Southgate surely must at least assess Ings as an option in the March internationals, while Callum Wilson will hope to return to form for Bournemouth in order to stake his own case. Everton's Dominic Calvert-Lewin may also be in with a chance.

England captain Harry Kane is to undergo surgery on his left hamstring and will be out of action until at least April, his club Tottenham have announced.

The striker suffered his injury on New Year's Day when scoring a goal against Southampton that was ruled out for offside.

Spurs have specified the setback as a "ruptured tendon" and it means Kane is set to miss most of the rest of the Premier League season.

For England, the news comes as a blow to boss Gareth Southgate given Kane will miss a significant chunk of the build-up to Euro 2020, being ruled out of March friendlies against Italy and Denmark.

However, provided that he returns to training on time, Kane should be able to build up his match fitness over the closing weeks of 2019-20.

Tottenham said in a statement: "Following ongoing assessment by our medical staff over the past week, we can confirm that Harry Kane will undergo surgery to repair a ruptured tendon in his left hamstring.

"The striker suffered the injury during our Premier League fixture against Southampton last week and specialists have advised surgery after further review of the injury.

"The decision to undergo surgery is not expected to impact the timeframe that the England captain will be sidelined, with the expectation that he will return to training in April."

Kane, 26, has scored 11 goals in 20 Premier League appearances this term.

His record of 32 goals in 45 games demonstrates his importance to England. He won the Golden Boot as top scorer at the 2018 World Cup, netting six times in Russia as the Three Lions reached the semi-finals.

Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho faces a struggle to find a suitable replacement for Kane, given his influence over recent seasons.

Mourinho has Son Heung-min and Lucas Moura as options to lead the attack, along with teenager Troy Parrott.

However, with the transfer window open there is the option of trawling the market for a short-term fix to the problem, with Milan striker Krzysztof Piatek linked with a move.

The injury could scarcely have come at a worse time for Spurs, who are desperate to claw their way into the top four to secure Champions League football next season.

They sit sixth in the Premier League, six points behind fourth-place Chelsea, and host leaders Liverpool on Saturday.

Spain boss Luis Enrique will consider Valencia defender Gabriel Paulista for selection if he becomes available to the national team.

Brazilian-born centre-back Gabriel is in the process of gaining Spanish nationality and last year expressed an interest in representing Spain once he is eligible.

Speaking to Movistar+, Luis Enrique confirmed it was a situation he was monitoring.

"I am aware of every player who could be called up," he said.

"Paulista is going through a process that could make him eligible."

Should Gabriel make the cut for Euro 2020, it would evoke memories of Diego Costa making a switch to play for Spain as opposed to his native Brazil ahead of the 2014 World Cup.

Costa struggled as the defending champions were dumped out in the group stage and, although he eventually improved to 10 goals from 26 caps, the Atletico Madrid striker has not featured at international level since the penalty shoot-out defeat to hosts Russia at the 2018 World Cup.

Spain will face Sweden, Poland and a play-off qualifier in Group E at Euro 2020. 

Donyell Malen's participation in Euro 2020 is in doubt after the young striker underwent knee surgery that will likely mean he misses the rest of the season.

Malen, 20, had a minor operation on his left knee in Pittsburgh, with PSV confirming on Saturday that the surgery had been successful.

However, the forward, who has scored 18 goals for club and country this term, is now set to miss the remainder of the campaign.

It means his chances of making Netherlands' Euro 2020 squad have been dealt a significant blow, while Ronald Koeman is likely to be left without another striking option following Memphis Depay's season-ending anterior cruciate ligament injury.

"We may assume that Donyell Malen had successful surgery. There were no complications after surgery," said PSV's medical manager Dr Wart van Zoest. 

"Donyell will stay here [Pittsburgh] for at least two weeks before he returns to Eindhoven to start his thorough rehabilitation programme."

Malen suffered the injury in PSV's 3-1 defeat to Feyenoord on December 21.

Federico Chiesa is confident Italy will be able to compete with the strongest teams at Euro 2020.

Italy have been drawn alongside Turkey, Wales and Switzerland in Group A and will face each of them at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.

The Azzurri won all 10 of their qualifying matches and are unbeaten in 14 games since losing 1-0 to Portugal in the Nations League in September 2018.

Chiesa, who scored his first senior international goal in a 9-1 thrashing of Armenia last November, acknowledged there will be plenty of competition at Euro 2020 but backed Italy to make an impact at the tournament.

"There are a lot of strong sides. France who won the 2018 World Cup are really strong, Portugal with Cristiano Ronaldo, so it's going to be really tough to win it," Chiesa told Fiorentina's website.

"I feel we are a very strong side, we have a fantastic coach. Roberto Mancini taught us a lot in the last period. He taught us how to play [with] a lot of possession, a lot of intensity.

"We saw our game develop a lot and that was showed by the results we got. Our qualification with all the victories we had in the group showed we are a really strong team and we can do a lot at the Euros."

He added: "Getting called up for Euro 2020 would be a great achievement but I have to earn it through my performances with Fiorentina."

Fiorentina have endured a difficult campaign and return from the mid-season break with Giuseppe Iachini at the helm, having sacked Vincenzo Montella after a 4-1 loss to Roma on December 20.

The Viola sit 15th in Serie A, three points clear of the relegation zone.

"The new coach came in and wasted no time in teaching us his tactics and how he wants us to play," said Chiesa.

"He's upped the tempo in training because he believes in hard work. I do too, and hopefully we can have a good second half of the season."

Dani Olmo claims a formal offer has been received from Barcelona ahead of a prospective transfer from Dinamo Zagreb.

Catalan forward Olmo spent six years in the youth ranks at Barca's famed La Masia before making the surprise switch to Croatia in 2014.

The 21-year-old was named man of the match after he scored the winner in Spain Under-21s' European Championship final victory over Germany in 2019.

He brought that form into this season with a string of impressive displays during Dinamo's Champions League campaign, earning a first senior Spain cap in November – another occasion Olmo marked with a goal against Malta

Dinamo reportedly want €40million for Olmo, who hopes to arrive at Camp Nou in January rather than the end of the season if an agreement is reached.

"It makes me happy the rumours have become a formal proposal and Barca are planning my return," Olmo told L'Esportiu. "I spent six years at La Masia and they taught me values for a lifetime.

"I do not know if Barca wants me now or at the end of the season, it's something my representatives control.

"If there is an agreement between the clubs, it seems to me it is best to leave Zagreb now."

Olmo believes joining Barca in January would aid his development and boost his chances of securing a spot in Luis Enrique's Spain squad for Euro 2020.

"My goal is to go to the European Championship and it will be difficult for me in the next few months if I only play in a minor competition," he said.

"Not only for going to the European Championship, also for continuing to improve. I am prepared to take a step forward in my career."

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have been rewriting the football history books for over a decade, and as the pair head into 2020, they are on the verge of racking up a stack of new milestones.

The iconic duo are hoping to propel their respective teams to Champions League glory this season while contesting for domestic honours in Italy and Spain, and there are new records to be set at club and international level for both players too.

Messi's Barcelona are top of LaLiga by two points and he has scored 11 goals in his last 10 games to step into the new year in optimistic mood, while Ronaldo is in a similar hot streak for Juventus after netting five in his last four Serie A outings.

At 32, Messi is two years Ronaldo's junior, but try telling the Juventus talisman that his career is nearing its end and he'll answer you with performances with all the pace, power and intensity of a player in his prime.

As two of the game's greatest embark upon what will doubtless be another year filled with glorious moments, here are the records they stand to smash along the way.

RONALDO: Most European Cup wins

Ronaldo won his fifth Champions League when Real Madrid beat Liverpool in the 2018 final and if he can inspire Juventus to glory in 2020 he will have won Europe's top competition as many times as current record holder Francisco Gento, who won six between 1956 and 1966 for Real Madrid.

MESSI: Top goal-scorer for a single team

Messi is 26 goals away from eclipsing Pele's club goals record of 643, which the Brazil legend is said to have scored for Santos. Record-keeping has become more accurate since Pele's day, and Messi is set to hit a new high that will take some beating.

RONALDO: All-time top European Championship goal-scorer

Ronaldo has scored nine goals for Portugal at the four European Championships where he has represented his country, putting him level with Michel Platini as the competition's leading scorer. If he can find the net in 2020's tournament, he will become the leading Euros marksman of all time.

MESSI AND RONALDO: Most Champions League hat-tricks

Messi and Ronaldo have scored eight hat-tricks each in the Champions League - more than any other player to have graced the competition - and if either can notch another in 2020 they could claim bragging rights for some time to come.

RONALDO: First player to be top scorer in English, Spanish and Italian top flights

Ronaldo is currently joint-fourth in the Serie A scoring charts with 10 goals, behind Joao Pedro (11), Romelu Lukaku (12) and Ciro Immobile (17), but if he can storm his way to the top in 2020 he will become the first player in history to have been top goal-scorer in the English, Spanish and Italian top flights.

MESSI: Seven Ballon d'Or wins

Ronaldo did not attend the Ballon d'Or awards ceremony in 2019 to see Messi claim a record sixth gong, and if the Barca star wins again in 2020 it is hard to see Ronaldo, who has won the award five times, ever catching him.

RONALDO: All-time international top-scorer

Ronaldo will be going all guns blazing for Portugal this year as he attempts to add to his 99 international goals and succeed Ali Daei, who scored 109 for Iran, as the top international marksman of all time.

MESSI: Four consecutive Golden Shoe awards

Messi has been the top goal-scorer in Europe for the last three consecutive seasons and he currently leads the LaLiga scoring charts with 13 goals. He was the first player to win the Golden Shoe, awarded to Europe's leading goal-scorer in league matches, three times in a row and could set another new record by doing it four times on the bounce.

Nemanja Matic admits it is tough to pick a favourite for Euro 2020 but believes England have "their best team in the last 20 years" ahead of the tournament.

Next year's finals will see 24 nations involved, with the final four spots to be decided by play-offs in March.

Reigning champions Portugal will be aiming to defend their title, while France - beaten on home soil in the final in 2016 - are out to follow up their success at the World Cup last year.

Matic hopes to help Serbia to glory, though he will not be surprised if two of the leading contenders are left fighting it out for the trophy at Wembley Stadium on July 12.

As for England, who would have home advantage should they progress to the semi-finals and final, the Manchester United midfielder is impressed by the talent available to Gareth Southgate, who steered the Three Lions to the last four in Russia.

"It's hard to say who my favourite is [for Euro 2020]," Matic told Omnisport.

“My favourite is my country, but I think Germany are always dangerous. Croatia have a good team, they played in the final of the World Cup.

“Spain are an amazing team, France too. It's hard to say who the favourite is.

“With England, I think it's time to make something. We'll see if they're ready. I think England now has their best team in the last 20 years, maybe I'm not right, but that's my opinion.

Memphis Depay is expected to be out for the rest of the season due to a serious knee injury, says Lyon sporting director Juninho.

Depay was substituted at half-time during Sunday's Ligue 1 defeat at home to Rennes, having initially been hurt in a tussle with Hamari Traore.

The forward sustained a suspected anterior cruciate ligament injury to his left knee that could rule him out of action for several months.

Depay now faces a battle to return in time to feature for Netherlands at Euro 2020.

"We expect Memphis' injury to be quite serious," Juninho told OL TV.

"We expect it to keep him out for the rest of the season. He's our captain and I'm sad for him."

Depay's injury came after they had also lost Jeff Reine-Adelaide to a suspected meniscus problem, with reports suggesting he could be out for around four months.

The former Manchester United man has scored nine goals and assisted a further two in 13 Ligue 1 appearances this season, as well as netting five times in five Champions League games.

Rennes moved up to fourth in the Ligue 1 table thanks to a 1-0 win earned by a late goal scored by 17-year-old Eduardo Camavinga, with Lyon sitting eighth after 18 games.

Lyon coach Rudi Garcia said: "I'm not happy with the results or the performances. The evening is made worse by the fact that we lost Reine-Adelaide and Depay to injury."

FIFA has made contact with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to clarify how Russia's ban from major international sporting events applies to football.

On Monday, WADA's Executive Committee endorsed a recommended four-year ban for Russia, with the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) declared non-compliant again over inconsistencies in anti-doping data discovered during an investigation.

The suspension means athletes will not be able to compete under the Russian flag at the 2020 Olympics or the 2022 Winter Games.

It would also appear to prevent Russia from entering the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, although WADA's International Standard for Code Compliance by Signatories does not list UEFA as a "major event organisation", so Stanislav Cherchesov's side will be free to compete at Euro 2020.

However, the Russian Football Union said it was hopeful football would not be impacted but it was waiting to hear from FIFA.

FIFA is yet to reveal its stance on the suspension but has confirmed to Omnisport it is in contact with WADA and the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF).

"FIFA has taken note of the decision taken by WADA Executive Committee today," a FIFA spokesperson said.

"FIFA is in contact with WADA and ASOIF to clarify the extent of the decision in regards to football."

RUSADA has 21 days to appeal the suspension, which would see its case referred to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Jonathan Taylor, chair of the Compliance Review Committee that recommended the sanction, told a news conference: "It is the event that decides the world champion that is covered by the ban."

However, Taylor acknowledged each sport would be assessed on a "case-by-case basis".

"Let's be clear about the totality of this package. It's a four-year package and relates to a number of different things," he said. "In terms of participation, the standard is clear.

"There will be no flag at the events that are covered. There will not be a Russian flag and athletes will not be competing as representatives of Russia.

"The details from sport to sport will have to differ because some are team sports, some are individual sports. There is going to have to be a case-by-case basis.

"Nevertheless, what is important to note is that the standard says it is under the control and approval of WADA to ensure appropriate and standardised enforcement.

"That may, if there is a CAS case, be taken to CAS so it can see and endorse it itself.

"Can we be definitive now in every case as to what it will mean? No, but the standard is clear. They will not be there as representatives of Russia."

WADA president Craig Reedie said in a statement the body had delivered "a robust response".

"Russia was afforded every opportunity to get its house in order and re-join the global anti-doping community for the good of its athletes and of the integrity of sport, but it chose instead to continue in its stance of deception and denial," he said.

Other concerned parties, including the International Olympic Committee (IOC), can also appeal to CAS if RUSADA chooses not to.

An appeal from the IOC, another Olympic committee or an international federation - such as FIFA - would have to come within 21 days of RUSADA accepting WADA's decision.

The Russian Football Union (RFU) is hopeful Russia's four-year ban from international sporting events will not impact their potential participation in the 2022 World Cup.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) declared the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) non-compliant again at a meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Monday.

A WADA panel had recommended the ban over inconsistencies in anti-doping data discovered during an investigation.

Athletes will not be able to compete under the Russian flag at the 2020 Olympics or the 2022 Winter Games, while Russia's place at the World Cup in Qatar is also in jeopardy.

FIFA is yet to reveal its stance on the suspension, but the RFU is optimistic Russia will be present in Qatar if they are successful in their qualification campaign, while it is keen for hosting opportunities in football also to be unaffected.

The International Standard for Code Compliance by Signatories does not list UEFA as a "major event organisation", so Russia will also be free to compete at Euro 2020, with St Petersburg acting as one of the host cities.

"The RFU has not yet received an official FIFA position by decision of WADA," a widely reported statement read.

"We closely monitor compliance with the anti-doping policy and hope that there will not be any restrictions on the part of FIFA for our teams, as well as the organisation of events or competitions in Russia."

RFU honorary president Vyacheslav Koloskov – formerly a vice-president of FIFA – is "firmly convinced" there will be no issues for the national football team.

"Will we go to the World Cup under our flag? I still have to go there, but I can't say anything about the team," Koloskov told Championat. "There is no FIFA reaction yet.

"We must carefully discuss this topic, but I am firmly convinced that these prohibitions will not affect football. And at the European Championship, we will definitely compete under our flag."

UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) has welcomed WADA's decision and adds it hopes any appeal process is swift with the Olympic Games in Tokyo just seven-and-a-half months away.

"We welcome today's decision to declare RUSADA non-compliant, and the decisive action by WADA's Executive Committee (ExCo) to impose four-year sanctions on Russian athletes and support personnel," UKAD chief executive Nicole Sapstead said. 

"This was the only possible outcome that the WADA ExCo could take to reassure athletes and the public and continue the task of seeking justice for those cheated by Russian athletes.

"We know however that this is not necessarily the end of the matter. If RUSADA chooses to appeal this decision to CAS [the Court of Arbitration for Sport], this must be carried out with minimal delay, especially in light of the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo. 

"We welcome the clear and detailed communication from WADA today [Monday] which is vital in helping to maintain confidence in the global anti-doping system."

RUSADA has 21 days to appeal the suspension, which would see its case referred to CAS.

Other concerned parties, including the International Olympic Committee (IOC), can also appeal if RUSADA chooses not to.

An appeal from the IOC, another Olympic committee or an international federation would have to come within 21 days of RUSADA accepting WADA's decision.

England will face Italy in the first of four warm-up matches for Euro 2020, with Gareth Southgate's side set to host the Azzurri on March 27.

The Three Lions secured qualification for next year's finals in style with a 7-0 thrashing of Montenegro in November, before rounding off their campaign by defeating Kosovo 4-0.

Southgate's side will face Croatia, victors in the 2018 World Cup semi-final meeting between the teams, and the Czech Republic - who inflicted England's only defeat of the qualification campaign - in Group D, with Scotland, Israel, Norway or Serbia set to complete the pool.

Four-time world champions Italy have won 11 straight games under Roberto Mancini, their longest run of consecutive victories, and will play Turkey, Switzerland and Wales in Group A, with all of the Azzurri's group matches to be played in Rome.

England have also lined up friendlies against Denmark on March 31, Austria on June 2 and Romania five days later, with their Euros campaign set to kick-off at Wembley on June 14.

Netherlands head coach Ronald Koeman dismissed speculation linking him to LaLiga champions Barcelona.

Koeman has emerged as a possible option for Barca should Ernesto Valverde leave, with the Dutchman's Netherlands contract containing a clause that would allow him to depart for Camp Nou following Euro 2020.

The 56-year-old spent six years at Barca as a player before later having a spell as Louis van Gaal's assistant from 1998 to 2000.

Koeman, however, is focused on his job with the Netherlands ahead of next year's European Championship.

"I have two more years left on my contract with the [Dutch] national team and I do not like to talk about Barcelona," Koeman said at an event in Barcelona.

"It's uncomfortable for a lot of reasons; I currently have a job and it's not fair to talk about this.

"If they come, they come; and if they don't, they don't. There are more important things [to worry about] in life."

The Netherlands are in Group C for Euro 2020, alongside Ukraine, Austria and a play-off winner.

Koeman's side will open their campaign at home to Ukraine in Amsterdam on June 14.

Leon Goretzka praised Hansi Flick following reports Bayern Munich are looking to unite him with Thomas Tuchel in a new coaching team.

German publication Bild suggested interim boss Flick could be kept on as an assistant at Allianz Arena if the Bundesliga side succeed in prising Tuchel from Paris Saint-Germain.

Flick took charge in a caretaker capacity following Niko Kovac's departure in November and has overseen four wins and a defeat in all competitions.

Chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge reaffirmed his support for the 54-year-old following the weekend loss to Bayer Leverkusen, a result midfielder Goretzka insisted was not Flick's fault.

"He told us what we did well and what we did badly," the Germany international told news portal T-Online.

"We knew how we wanted to defend the counter-attack, but in the moment we did not do it well. But that will be different in the next games."

Goretzka added: "He's doing a very good job.

"The coach question is not for me to decide, that's what others do. But he definitely recommended himself [through Bayern's results] in the last few weeks."

Goretzka made his second Bundesliga start of the season in the Leverkusen encounter and will hope for further opportunities to press his case for Euro 2020 selection with Germany.

Joachim Low's men have been dealt a tough draw for the tournament, with holders Portugal and World Cup winners France joining them in Group F.

"What is difficult for me to understand is how such a group can come about," Goretzka said.

"I don't think we will go in as favourites, as we would normally expect at a European Championship.

"Nevertheless, we always have the claim to progress. I do not see any problem either. They are big challenges.

"We will try to spark euphoria in the country with the fans behind us and then continue on our way."

Page 5 of 7
© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.