England manager Gareth Southgate has confirmed captain Harry Kane will be available for Friday’s World Cup clash with the USA.
The England captain picked up a knock on his right ankle in the second half of Monday’s 6-2 win over Iran and played 25 minutes before being substituted after 76 minutes and undergoing scans to determine the severity of the injury.
Sky Sports News Southgate was said to be expected to name an unchanged starting line-up from the 6-2 win over Iran for tomorrow’s World Cup Group B clash against the USA.
In his pre-match press conference ahead of the clash with the USA, Southgate said: “Harry is good. It would be a brave decision to leave him out of the starting line-up!”
The update follows Jordan Pickford’s admission that Kane trained with the rest of the squad on Wednesday. I think he’s fine, maybe a little sick, but he’s on the grass with us today. It’s good, yes,” said the goalkeeper.
Maguire will start against USA
Harry Maguire will start for England against the USA tomorrow and is set to win his 50th cap.
A controversial selection for the starting XI in England’s opening win against Iran, Maguire produced one of his most assured performances of the season. He hit the post with a header early on and then earned an assist for Bukayo Saka’s first goal.
There were concerns over Maguire’s fitness for the second Group B match after he was forced off against Iran due to illness. But he has now recovered and is fully involved in England training.
“I was disappointed to get out [against Iran]” Maguire said. “I felt bad in the second half and we did everything we needed to do and I trained for two days and I feel good. I’m ready to go for tomorrow.
“My 50th cap will be a really proud moment for myself. I have some amazing memories. Every time I put the jersey on it’s such a proud moment.
“Making the quarter-finals of the World Cup and the Euros, reaching the semi-finals, reaching the final: there are a lot of memories.
“There are still a lot of players who were there in my debut and are still there now. I’ve played a lot of games with John Stones, he’s been there for almost every game I’ve been in.”
Southgate: We won’t appreciate Stones and Maguire until they’re gone
Southgate has jumped to the defense of Maguire, who has been criticized for his form after losing his place in Manchester United’s starting line-up.
The England manager paid particular tribute to Maguire’s centre-back partnership with Stones, with the defensive duo acting as a mainstay in his side throughout his tenure.
“We wanted to build our squad that had the ability to play at the back,” Southgate said. “Harry and John Stones have provided this incredible platform to build on.
“We’re not going to appreciate that stability in possession until they’re there. And they can defend themselves well. They know their games and fight for each other. They pride themselves on keeping clean nets, but they need to revive themselves!
“Harry’s 50th game is well deserved. He played a big part in two big tournament performances and we’re hoping for a third.”
Speaking about that criticism, Maguire added: “As a footballer, nobody likes to be criticized but it’s part of the game. Cristiano [Ronaldo] is the best player to ever kick a football and is criticized day in and day out.
“He’s criticized every day, so it’s going to happen to all of us. We have to go to training, give it our all and that’s all you can do.”
Earlier this week goalkeeper Pickford gave Maguire a vote of confidence. “He should be respected a lot more, but every footballer is criticised. I think it’s a bit unfair. His performance on the pitch showed how good he is.
“He was amazing. He was really good that night, got an assist and maybe could have given us a penalty with that VAR decision that went against us.
“I have a great relationship with him. Most of my camps have had Harry ahead of me and he’s in a very good place now.”
Souness: Kane needed saving from himself
Sky Sports’ Graeme Souness speaks on ITV:
“I look at England with a manager’s head and when I see the challenge I think, ‘this lad has a history with his ankles’.”
“He stayed a little bit down, he wasn’t right, he was walking carefully on it. I’m thinking ‘he needs to get out now’. It happened in the 48th minute and he came off in the 75th. 27 minutes of running on this ankle.
“Some players need saving from themselves. He is a scorer. He thinks “there are goals in this match against Iran and I will stay”. I think this is a mistake.
“I think the manager should have removed him immediately. You are also three-zero at this point. You don’t have to risk Harry anymore.
“I wrote about this competition before I came here and I think England can do really, really well as long as Harry scores a lot of goals. Not sure when they play the right teams who else will get goals.
“So I see it as something that could have been avoided and that for me is up to the manager because a player who wants to be the goalscorer in this competition is going to act selfishly in that situation. He needs saving from himself there.
“He had to get out immediately. He should have been on ice and in an elevated position immediately.”