Sunday, July 21, 2024

Three ways England could line up vs Slovenia WITHOUT Kane after worrying update

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ENGLAND could start without Harry Kane in their final Group C match against Slovenia on Tuesday.

The Three Lions captain, 30, scored in the disappointing draw against Denmark on Thursday but offered little else before he was substituted for Ollie Watkins with 20 minutes remaining.

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Harry Kane may be unavailable for England’s final group game on TuesdayCredit: AP

Kane‘s under-par display has led many to question his fitness, particularly given he has only just recovered from a back issue that kept him sidelined for Bayern Munich‘s final two games of the season.

And manager Gareth Southgate has admitted the ex-Tottenham man is lacking game time.

After ruling out Kane carrying an injury during the Denmark game, he said: “We felt with the three front players that they played the bulk of the game the other day [against Serbia] and we needed to get some legs onto the pitch.

“Harry’s only had one 90 minutes in five or six weeks.

“Given what the other game took out of us, given the heat against Denmark, we needed to press better towards the end of the game.

“It was always in our mind that all of the forward players might need freshening at that point.”

The questions surrounding Kane have caused many to speculate about an England XI without the country’s record scorer – with one Engalnd legend claiming he should be dropped against Slovenia.

SunSport has taken a look at THREE ways Southgate could choose to line up if his No9 is unavailable.

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Pundits and legends lay into England

ENGLAND’s lifeless display in the 1-1 draw with Denmark left pundits and legends queuing up to take a dig at Gareth Southgate’s team.

Here’s the best of what was said…

ALAN SHEARER

“Awful performance, particularly after going up in the game.

“I don’t think one England player can look at themselves and say, ‘I’ve done my job tonight’.

“England were all over the place, far too sloppy in possession, gave the ball away too much and got caught too many times.

“There was no energy, no pace, no guile — Southgate is simply not getting the best out of England’s best players.

“It’s concerning and Gareth will get some serious questions.

“You saw England players lying on their backs — they look absolutely shattered but there’s no excuse for that.”

GARY LINEKER

The BBC host called the performance “lifeless and tepid”.

On Harry Kane he said: “He needs his manager to ask more of him. I would have expected that if I’d put in that kind of performance.”

RIO FERDINAND

“The players don’t look the same as they do for their clubs. It is a big concern.”

ROY KEANE

“Courage and bravery, we’re not really seeing it.

“There’s something amiss with the balance. Bellingham is waving his arms.

“This is a big test for Gareth. It looks like he’s overthinking things.”

JAMIE CARRAGHER

“My big worry watching this and for the rest of the tournament?

“England look absolutely knackered. They can’t get close to the ball.

“The surest sign of fatigue is dropping deep.

“Declan Rice is having to cover so much ground. No-one can convince me this is a strategy.”

JACK WILSHERE

“It’s strange that we have taken the lead in both games so far, yet instead of it settling us down and giving us the confidence to play, we have failed to take control.

“But what was most worrying was that Denmark had a clear way of playing — while we didn’t.”

Ollie Watkins leads the line

Watkins is the obvious candidate to step in for Kane should the England No9 be deemed unfit for the Slovenia clash.

The Aston Villa forward scored 27 goals last season, establishing himself as the deputy to the Three Lions’ skipper.

Secrets to England Euros success

Watkins also went close to scoring when he replaced Kane against Denmark, but was denied by an impressive stop from Kasper Schmeichel.

Watkins also offers something different to Kane as he makes more runs in behind.

This switch may mean Southgate makes fewer changes elsewhere on the pitch – with Conor Gallagher for Trent Alexander-Arnold possibly being the only other alteration.

Ollie Watkins is the obvious replacement for Kane

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Ollie Watkins is the obvious replacement for KaneCredit: Getty
Watkins is a viable option if Kane is unable to play against Slovenia

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Watkins is a viable option if Kane is unable to play against Slovenia

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Ivan Toney a more natural fit

Ivan Toney may have scored just four goals for Brentford after returning from his ban in January, but some England fans still prefer him to Watkins.

That is because he is seen as a more natural replacement for Kane – who excels in holding the ball up, bringing others into play and scoring penalties.

If Toney was to come into the fold then other changes to the midfield and wide positions would also be expected.

Eberechi Eze is one man chomping at the bit to play on the left if the out-of-sorts Phil Foden is dropped to the bench.

And with keeping hold of the ball a major issue for England, Adam Wharton could also be brought in to feature alongside Declan Rice.

Ivan Toney is yet to feature for England at the Euros

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Ivan Toney is yet to feature for England at the EurosCredit: Getty
Toney may be seen as a more obvious replacement for Kane

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Toney may be seen as a more obvious replacement for Kane


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Jude Bellingham as a false nine

Perhaps the most unlikely of the three line-ups but an option for Southgate nonetheless.

Jude Bellingham played as a false nine for Real Madrid on numerous occasions during his first season with the Spanish giants, helping him score 23 goals in total.

Fans have debated as to whether he is a No8 or No10, but a curveball could be that he is utilised as the most attacking central option against Slovenia.

This could also allow Foden to play in behind him and Anthony Gordon out wide on the left.

Jude Bellingham could change position to accommodate the absence of Kane

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Jude Bellingham could change position to accommodate the absence of KaneCredit: Getty
Bellingham could be used as a false nine

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Bellingham could be used as a false nine

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