Gareth Southgate: Harry Kane didn’t need picking up after World Cup penalty miss
By Jonathan Veal, PA
England boss Gareth Southgate says there has been no need to put an arm around Harry Kane after his World Cup heartache.
The England captain missed a late penalty in the quarter-final defeat to France in Qatar and has subsequently said he will be haunted by it forever.
However, he has not let it affect his domestic form having scored nine times in 17 games for Spurs since the restart, which has seen him become the club’s all-time record goalscorer.
He will also break his country’s record the next time he finds the back of the net, which could well be in forthcoming Euro 2024 qualifiers against Italy and Ukraine next week.
Southgate says he has not deemed it necessary to “interfere” with Kane while he’s been on club business but sees a player as hungry as ever to score goals.
“I don’t think it’s a big hurdle really,” he said. “I had a good chat with him while we were away. I sent him a message before he went back to his club and then I took a step back and had a look at how it was.
“And I haven’t really felt the need to pick the phone up. It (his recovery) is there in his performances for Spurs.
“Sometimes you can busy yourself and look for a pat on the back by getting in touch with a player but I can’t take any credit for what he’s done.
“What I’ve observed is a player still super-confident, still ready to perform, still hungry to score goals. He’s obviously gone through the personal landmark with Spurs and then there’s this one that he’s going to nail with us at some point.
“So, I actually spoke to him earlier this week, but I’ve been able to take a step back and let him get on with it. Sometimes there’s no need to interfere.”
Kane’s inevitable redemption will see a possible front three that has all had to overcome disappointments in an England shirt, with Bukayo Saka and Marcus Rashford also coming back from dark moments.
Both players had memorable World Cups, while Saka is leading Arsenal’s Premier League title challenge and Rashford has fired Manchester United to the Carabao Cup and the quarter-finals of the Europa League.
Saka is especially loved within the England camp and Southgate has described him as a “fabulous human”.
He said: “Well I would think when you ask that question, probably people would find themselves doing what I’ve just done, which is you start to smile.
“Because that’s what he brings to you. You feel a warmth. You feel a fabulous human being who has broken his way into the team at Arsenal at a time they weren’t playing so well – and excelled.
“And now here they are pushing for the title – and he’s excelling again.
“And he’s recovered from the obvious setback with us. He has the warmth of the fans with him who can see what he’s about, can see the genuine nature of his personality.
“He’s a top player. He’s more and more of a goal threat, he’s creating chances, he is totally reliable without the ball.
“He’s a proper team player. I can’t speak highly enough of him.”
On Rashford, Southgate added: “This season he has been exceptional. You can see the happiness, it’s obvious to everybody watching.
“His finishing…you’re seeing him moving on to chances now and you are expecting him to score. For a period, that wasn’t the case.
“You can see the confidence. He is benefiting from the environment at the club.
“He’s in that flow that every player and athlete wants to be in. You can’t remain in it forever and you have to try to get back into it when you are out of it.
“But he is definitely in that moment and he must feel super-confident.”