Chris Waddle urges Southgate to drop ‘tired’ Harry Kane for final group game against Czech Republic
Chris Waddle has suggested Harry Kane should be dropped to the bench for England’s final Euro 2020 group game following his “really tired” performance in the stalemate with Scotland.
Three Lions captain Kane, who won the golden boot at the 2018 World Cup, struggled to make an impact against the Scots and was substituted for the second successive tournament match.
Former England international Waddle, who urged manager Gareth Southgate not to press the panic button following Friday’s goalless draw, is a big admirer of the Tottenham striker but believes he would benefit from being given a partial rest during Tuesday’s clash with the Czech Republic.
“Harry Kane is a big talking point. He’s a wonderful footballer, I love watching him but he looks tired, he looks like he’s playing on memory, let’s be honest,” Waddle told the BBC’s Breakfast programme.
“He could probably be better off coming on as an impact sub for half an hour – just give him a rest, he looks really tired.”
England came into the tournament with many identifying defensive areas as their weaknesses yet, following two clean sheets, it is their toothless attack which is proving problematic.
Waddle believes changes to the front three of Kane, Raheem Sterling and Phil Foden are now required and called for Jack Grealish, and possibly Marcus Rashford, to start.
“At the minute, it’s just not happening and he (Southgate) has got to change it. He’s given them enough time, we need to score goals and he’s going to have to look at it,” said Waddle, who earned 62 caps between 1985 and 1991.
“Listen you don’t press the panic button as such. England have got four points, they’re in a good position. But he’s got to get that front three right.
“Jack Grealish – I know the fans want him to play and I understand why Gareth hasn’t played him – I think now it’s time to put him in and maybe start Marcus Rashford on the other side.”
Graeme Souness revelled in Scotland’s Wembley draw and warned Three Lions fans “football ain’t coming home” based on current performance levels.
Southgate’s side left the pitch to boos at full time and ex-Scotland midfielder Souness stuck the boot in as a pundit on ITV, suggesting England are too reliant on “jaded” talisman Kane.
“Harry is England’s one player proven to get goals at this level on a regular basis. If that is not happening in this competition, you’re not going very far,” he said.
“Go back to the World Cup in Russia, his goals got you where you got to and Harry Kane not performing is a major problem for you. Football ain’t coming home with that, not the way they are playing.”
Kane, who is reportedly eager to leave Spurs this summer, was replaced by Rashford in the 74th minute of the Group D encounter, having been brought off eight minutes from time in the 1-0 opening win over Croatia.
Souness added: “Harry doesn’t look himself, he looks jaded, he looks tired and this is a guy looking to get a big move this summer.
“He needs to waken himself up. He came off in the first game, is he carrying something? He looks a shadow of himself.”
Fellow pundit Roy Keane echoed Souness and questioned if speculation regarding Kane’s career has affected his performances.
“Before the competition, there was all talk he might be leaving Spurs and maybe he has been distracted by that because that can be an energy-sapper if you think you’re moving club or you’re in talks with other clubs – that is not helpful,” the former Republic of Ireland captain said.
“If England really want to compete in this competition, you need your star men to perform.
“We have seen Romelu Lukaku, Kevin De Bruyne turned up, Cristiano Ronaldo, they need Kane at his best and I am glad Gareth took him off.
“There is this talk about he is undroppable, he’s the main man, if he is not performing you get him off.”
Gary Neville questioned whether the occasion was “too big” for the youngest ever England line-up at a major tournament.
“It was a really poor performance, a massive disappointment, underpinned by poor physical levels,” said the former Three Lions full-back.
“Is it too big for them in terms of expectation? A few of those lads, it’s probably the biggest game they’ve played in, all the media leading up to the game… sometimes it can just mentally take it out of you.
“That was such a lacklustre display in such a big game.”