England’s Kane denies ‘burnout’ claims

6 Jul

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England need to be patient – Harry Kane

Harry Kane insists he is not suffering from burnout as he prepares to lead England’s attack against Iceland in the last 16 of the European Championship.

The Tottenham striker was the Premier League’s top scorer last season but has yet to find the target in France.

He was dropped against Slovakia after being substituted at half-time against Wales, but the 22-year-old denied he was feeling the effects of playing 50 games for his club last season.

“I feel sharp and ready,” he said.

“I’m not tired, I’m 100% fresh. I don’t think burnout is a worry.”

Kane was one of six changes made by manager Roy Hodgson for the final Group B game against the Slovakians, which ended in a frustrating stalemate meaning England were beaten to top spot by Wales.

“I think to progress in major tournaments and be at your best you need a big squad and need to rotate it,” said Kane, who scored 25 goals as Spurs finished third in the Premier League last term.

“The gaffer made his choice in that game and we all stick by it. He chose to change a few players, but that’s tournament football.

“You can’t read too much into it, other than it was to help the team.

“We knew he would rotate, and that he’d chosen to do that. You have to take it, move forward and take it in your stride.”

‘We fancy ourselves against anyone’

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Euro 2016: Best goals of the group stage

England face Iceland in the last 16 in Nice at 20:00 BST on Monday. If Hodgson’s men progress they will face the winner of the game between France and the Republic of Ireland, who play at 14:00 on Sunday.

And Kane echoed England captain Wayne Rooney’s confident message that they have nothing to fear in the knockout stages, despite only finishing second in their group after drawing with Russia and Slovakia and needing a stoppage-time goal from Daniel Sturridge to beat Wales.

“We have done what we needed to do,” he said.

“We have got out of the group stage and into the knockout stage. The focus now is on Iceland. We fancy ourselves against anyone and we are very confident in our ability.

“We are one of the best teams in this tournament.”

Kane was ‘happy’ to take corners

A feature of England’s opening 1-1 draw with Russia was Hodgson’s decision to hand corner-taking duties to Kane, a move described as “bizarre” by Match of the Day pundit Alan Shearer.

“It was something we tried when we first met up for the Turkey [warm-up] game,” Kane said. “At the time we had a lot of tall players in the team and they saw the delivery I had and wanted me to put it in the box. We did it then and it stuck.

“I’ll listen to the manager. If he wants me to do something, I’ll do it. The manager wanted me to take them, so I took them.

“Nothing was really said until immediately before the game, when it was up on the board about who was taking what. I was happy to do it. It’s been blown out of proportion a bit.”

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