Harry Kane: Graeme Souness says England captain 'needed saving from himself' after suffering ankle injury
Graeme Souness believes Harry Kane ought to have been replaced immediately having sustained an ankle injury that has made him a doubt for England's second World Cup group game this Friday against USA.
England's captain suffered a knock to his right ankle in the second half of England's 6-2 win over Iran on Monday and played on for 25 minutes before being substituted after 76 minutes.
Kane had a scan on his right ankle ahead of the US game but it seems the striker has avoided injury as he trained with the group on Wednesday and is again expected in training on Thursday.
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The official England Twitter account shared a photo of the striker in training accompanied by the caption "skipper" and a fist emoji, with the Three Lions optimistic he will be fit to face the USA.
Speaking in his role as a pundit for ITV, Sky Sports' Graeme Souness said: "I'm watching England with a manager's head on and when I see the challenge, I'm thinking, 'this boy's got a history with his ankles'.
"He stayed down a bit, he wasn't right, he was walking gingerly on it. I'm thinking, 'he has to come off now'. That happened in the 48th minute and he went off in the 75th. He had 27 minutes running on that ankle.
"Some players need saving from themselves. He's a goalscorer. He's thinking, 'there are goals in this game against Iran and I'm going to stay on'. I think that's a mistake.
"I think the manager should have had him off immediately, You're three-nil up at that point as well. You don't need to risk Harry any more.
"I've written about this competition prior to coming here and I think England could do really, really well, as long as Harry scores lots of goals. I'm not sure when they are playing proper teams, who else is going to get goals.
"So I see that as something that was avoidable, and that, for me, is down to the manager, because a player who wants to be top scorer in this competition will act in a selfish way in that situation. He needs saving from himself there.
"He should have been off immediately. It should have been on ice and in an elevated position immediately."
"I'm a little bit worried as they're being a bit coy about it. Unless they're trying to be a bit clever, but I don't think Gareth has got it in him. He's not one of those managers who tries to play mind games so I'm a little bit worried about it.
"There's no direct replacement for Harry Kane in the squad. No one has got his quality to link up the play. You saw the assists he got the other day. His assists were of the sort that no one else in the squad is capable of doing.
"If he's had a scan, that worries me. Callum Wilson and Marcus Rashford are good when there's space in behind but when you're playing against a deeper defence they do struggle at times with their back to goal.
"What Harry has been doing for Tottenham over the past couple of years, his assists are as good as his goals. It would be concern for the leadership and a big concern in terms of the quality. We haven't got a direct replacement."
Pickford: Kane is sore but fine; he trained with us on Wednesday
Speaking to the press ahead of England's match against USA in their second World Cup fixture on Friday, Jordan Pickford offered an encouraging update.
"I think he is good, probably a bit sore but he's out on the grass today with us. He's fine, yeah," the goalkeeper said.
The Spurs striker was a key figure for Southgate's side in the dominant win over Iran, claiming two assists to set up goals for both Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford.
England boss Gareth Southgate said after the game Kane's withdrawal was a precaution, but the striker was then spotted leaving the stadium with strapping around his ankle.
"I think Harry's fine," the England boss said in his post-match press conference following the win over Iran.
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"It looked like a bad tackle but he carried on in the game. We took him off because we felt it was a moment in the game we could do that."
Kane has previously experienced problems with his ankles, missing 14 games in the 2016/17 season. He also missed four matches last season as a result of a separate ankle injury.
"Harry Kane's ankle injury means he's a real doubt for England's second group B game. He picked up that injury after a really hefty challenge in the second half, which left him down for several minutes and he looked to be in a lot of pain. Kane doesn't go down easily.
"He was substituted after 76 minutes after trying to play on for 20 minutes or so. Gareth Southgate said Kane was fine and taken off as a precaution. I was surprised he said that and wonder whether he was sugarcoating it a little bit because I was in the stands watching that game and I watched Kane after the challenge and he appeared really uncomfortable, was struggling to run and was looking over to communicate with the bench for a long period of time.
"We now know he's gone for a scan on that ankle, we don't know the results, but it's a worry. Not just because Kane is the one irreplaceable factor in this squad, but also because he's had ankle problems before. He missed 14 games in the 2016/17 season because of an ankle injury and four games last season because of an injury on his other ankle.
"That's a problem. He was the Golden Boot winner four years ago in Russia. How is he? We didn't see him in training yesterday, we didn't expect to because it was a recovery session for everyone who featured in that game. They were in the gym, in the swimming pool, Kane would have certainly been having some physio on that ankle and a bit more medical attention.
"It's a closed training session for England today, so who knows what's going on behind closed doors. Tomorrow is the day before England's game against the USA and all eyes will on seeing whether Kane is out there training."
"I think England would need to change their style of play [if Harry Kane is ruled out]. Callum Wilson is not the same player as Kane, or having Marcus Rashford through the middle - so they'd have to change.
"It would be a massive blow. Not just because of his goals, but [the impact] on England's style of play - because a lot of that depends on Kane.
"Yes, he'll want to play, but England were never going to lose the game, so [maybe he should have been subbed off], because of his history with injuries."
Kane has had a long battle with ankle injuries that have plagued his career. Here's a look at the England skipper's long history with ankle problems...
Kane first sustained an ankle injury in a 1-0 Premier League win over Sunderland in September 2016, having scored the winner for Tottenham. He fell awkwardly in the final few minutes and scans revealed ligament damage. He ended up sitting out 10 Spurs games, also missing an international break and returned for a 1-1 draw at Arsenal on November 6.
The England striker suffered a repeat problem in the early stages of the 6-0 FA Cup win at Millwall in March 2017. He tangled with Jake Cooper after getting a shot away and was unable to continue. Fears were that he would be out for a similar length of time as earlier in the season but he only missed three Spurs games.
Almost one year on from his last problem, Kane went down again and it was a worrying time for both Tottenham and England fans ahead of the World Cup. It looked serious as the striker had to limp off against Bournemouth after being
caught trying to turn the ball into the net. However, it was a quickfire recovery from Kane, who only missed one Tottenham game, along with two England matches.
Another ankle problem for the England captain came early in 2019 and this time it was a bad one. He went down at the end of Tottenham's 1-0 defeat by Manchester United and did not return to action until they played at Burnley nearly six weeks later, returning with a goal.
Little over six weeks after his return Kane suffered a lateral ligament injury to his left ankle in the Champions League quarter-final first leg against Manchester City. He missed nine matches and returned to start the Champions League final on June 1 but could not stop Liverpool winning 2-0.
Kane, who had suffered a serious hamstring injury in 2020, was back in the treatment room for his ankle after he came off against Liverpool following a heavy challenge. A scan showed no serious ligament damage and he was able to return in 10 days, missing two games.
Two months later Kane limped off against Everton after a challenge in the 89th minute in what turned out to be Jose Mourinho's final game in charge of Tottenham. There were immediate concerns about the striker's fitness for the Carabao Cup final the following weekend, but he was fit, having missed a midweek win over Southampton.
"There's another issue because Callum Wilson is probably the natural replacement if Harry Kane is injured. Marcus Rashford might have something to say about that after he came on and scored after 49 seconds against Iran - and has been playing as an out-and-out No 9 for Manchester United this season - so maybe he'd get the nod in front of Wilson, anyway.
"But Wilson wasn't training yesterday when we expected him to be because he's going through a load-management programme, as England and physios call it, and that means they have concerns over some element of his legs and they didn't want him running around and potentially aggravating something.
"We don't think that's too serious, but, again we didn't think James Maddison's injury was too serious when he joined the camp with a slight knee injury and he told us he'd had a scan and there was no serious damage. Maddison hasn't trained with England at all since they've been out here in Qatar for a week now.
"With Kane leaving the stadium in strapping, issues with Wilson - it only really leaves Rashford as the fully fit striker for England right now. Raheem Sterling came off against Iran because he got a heavy knock - we wait to see how he is. Kieran Trippier, likewise - but it's my understanding he will be absolutely fine.
"There is a growing sense of injury problems with England. We expect Kyle Walker to be fit and back. But injuries are starting to add up and the most worrying one - at the very top of that list - is England captain Kane."