Harry Kane backs Gareth Southgate amid winless run and criticism of England manager


Harry Kane believes Gareth Southgate does not deserve to be criticised for his work as England manager, crediting him as the main reason for their successful runs to the latter stages of major tournaments in recent years.

Southgate warned last week that he will not “outstay his welcome” in the job after being persistently criticised for a perceived conservatism in tactics and team selection, with former England striker Gary Lineker among those to question him last week.

England have nevertheless failed to win their last three games, their longest run without victory in almost four years, and have not scored a goal from open play in more than four hours during this current international break.

Kane was named captain by Southgate ahead of the 2018 World Cup and has been a mainstay throughout his manager’s five-and-a-half years in charge, scoring 45 of England’s 158 goals over the same period.

“I think when you look at our team, we’ve been one of the most successful England teams there’s been over our history and Gareth has been the main part of that,” the Tottenham Hotspur striker insisted.

“Of course, there’s always going to be noise, it’s part and parcel of being an England coach or England player. We know that but I think the real kind of drive and togetherness we have in our squad, it doesn’t really bother us, we’ll always protect each other and defend each other.”

Southgate has attempted to balance player welfare with World Cup preparation


Kane added: “We know what we’re trying to achieve and obviously these games are our preparation games for the World Cup and that’s the most important thing. I feel like we’re in a good place. There are areas we can improve for sure.

“But come the World Cup, we should be in the right moment. So I spoke about Gareth before and how much we get on and how much I’ve learned from him and I look forward to many more moments learning together.”

As captain, Kane is expected to take the lead on any protest that the England players make against human rights abuses and the treatment of migrant workers in Qatar.

Southgate suggested that any gesture may be done in conjunction with other national teams in order to have a greater impact, and Kane revealed that he has been in discussion with Denmark and France counterparts Christian Eriksen and Hugo Lloris over their plans.

“Christian Eriksen got in touch with me a couple of weeks ago now. Obviously there is Hugo [Lloris], who I am in touch with a lot anyway. The discussion was to maybe do something as a collective,” he said.

“We spoke to the FA and their guys and I know they are having a meet-up next week or a couple of weeks where they will discuss amongst themselves as well. When we come to a decision of something we want to do, for sure we will share [it] with you guys.

“I think it will be important like Gareth said to do it collectively. I feel like it will have a bit more stance, a bit more power.”

Kane said there is currently no deadline for a decision on whether England’s players will protest. A decision is not expected until after the next meeting of the Uefa Working Group on Qatar.

“Obviously, I’d imagine by the next camp we’d like to have something but the conversations will go on over the next couple of weeks,” Kane added.

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