England to keep Kane firing for Belgium clash

PUBLISHED: 14:30 27 June 2018

England's Harry Kane (left) and Jamie Vardy (second right) (pic: Owen Humphreys/PA)

England's Harry Kane (left) and Jamie Vardy (second right) (pic: Owen Humphreys/PA)

PA Wire/PA Images

Current World Cup leading goalscorer and Tottenham Hotspur forward Harry Kane may keep his place in the England starting XI as national team boss Gareth Southgate weighs up his options for their group-stage closer against Belgium.

Arsenal forward Danny Welbeck on England duty (pic: Owen Humphreys/PA)Arsenal forward Danny Welbeck on England duty (pic: Owen Humphreys/PA)

Golden Boot front-runner Kane has netted five times already in the tournament and has helped England secure a last-16 place with a game to spare.

The Three Lions will go through to the next stage however they get on against Belgium tonight, which has led to talk of players being rested.

But Kane has emerged as the team’s leader, both in terms of the captaincy and the importance of his finishing, and that could be a decisive factor when Southgate looks at individuals and decides where to make changes for this evening’s game in Kaliningrad.

Asked about Kane’s prospects of facing Belgium, Southgate told talkSPORT: “As a manager you’ve got to think about the whole squad and your second thought is always for individuals and their own situations.

“That’s a really complex balance in any business when you’re managing people, but I’m sure we will get that right.”

Regardless of whether Kane starts, it seems certain there will be several changes for the Belgium game, with England’s squad containing several players who could play important roles later in the tournament.

And Spurs defender Danny Rose and Arsenal striker Danny Welbeck may be among those to come into the side to face the Red Devils.

Southgate added: “I’ve got to try and make the best decisions for the group and for this game in particular, and also for what we’ve got to come.

“This game will help us in that regard, there are lads who have been training incredibly hard and not been able to get on the field.

“And also if they’re going to come into matches in the knock-out stages it’s helpful for them if they are match-sharp - so that’s also got to be part of our thinking.”

Southgate also warned his players not to “waste any energy” trying to work out what might lie ahead if they finish first or second in Group G - and just focus on beating Belgium.

“What I’ve discussed with the players is we must not waste any energy thinking whether it’s better to be first or second in the group, who we might play in future rounds,” the England manager told FIFA TV.

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