We explain why Harry Kane needs to be in the next England squad…
Should Harry Kane be named in Roy Hodgson’s next England squad? This question has been the subject of an unprecedented amount of debate so far this week, especially considering the 21-year-old has scored almost as many goals (24) as Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge, Danny Welbeck, and Rickie Lambert combined (25) so far this season.
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Speaking in yesterday’s Daily Telegraph, Jason Burt claimed that Kane should be omitted by Hodgson, on the basis that he should remain with the Under-21 side until after their European Championship campaign next summer.
This is an interesting and entirely plausible view to take on the matter. Add in the fact that Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino has expressed burn-out fears over the player, and that Hodgson has spoken openly about wanting to keep his current squad together, then it seems we have a fairly open and shut case.
However, surely Kane is worthy of being regarded as an exception to these self-imposed rules that have been placed upon the England squad.
This is a player, after all, who has scored 24 goals in all competitions so far this season, six more than Saido Berahino – another young player who has caught the eye of Hodgson – who was selected for the last national squad.
We mustn’t become preoccupied in our attempts to copy the German model of progress – putting together a team of stars at youth level and allowing them to progress together into the first-team. There was a reason that worked for the Germans – their first-team was already good!
If England allow some of their best players – Jack Wilshere, Ross Barkley, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, John Stones, Luke Shaw, Calum Chambers – to spend the next six months playing for the Under-21s rather than the first-team, as Burt suggests, then who on earth will be playing for the first-team?
We’re not Germany, we don’t have time to allow our fresh young talent to tread water for a couple of years, readying themselves for the big time. The retirements of Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole, and more, have left a big hole for Roy Hodgson to fill. The time for these young players is now, not in six months, and certainly not next year when we head to France for Euro 2016.
Kane is ready to play for England, as was Raheem Sterling when he all but bypassed Gareth Southgate’s youth team last year in order to take his place on the plane for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
As such, the Spurs star needs time to adjust to the first-team, and playing with stars he’s not worked with before. The upcoming qualifying game with Lithuania and the friendly with Italy are the ideal time for his glorified trial period.
Kane should play for Southgate in the summer, but there’s no need for him to play in any of the pre-tournament friendlies, as Southgate and co are already well accustomed to having him in the team. As a result of missing those games, he can play for the first-team instead.
As for the other players mentioned above: Wilshere, Barkely et al. Why should they be included? They’ve done nothing to help the team qualify for the tournament, and to include them is both cruel and insulting to those that did.
This compromise should benefit anyone, including those talking about burn-out, in keeping with football’s latest fashionable statement…. although quite why a strapping young player such as Kane, who is far from the weedy teenager usually associate with such labels, would want a mid-season rest is beyond me.
Harry Kane should be in the England squad. He’s good enough, fit enough, and deserves the chance to show what he can do, and show Hodgson whether he’s capable of working with the likes of Rooney and Sturridge in a competitive environment. To suggest otherwise, is nothing short of madness.