World Cup: Graeme Souness slams ‘selfish’ England captain Harry Kane | Football
Graeme Souness has accused Harry Kane of acting ‘selfishly’ during England’s opening World Cup win over Iran.
Gareth Southgate’s side, semi-finalists at the last World Cup, make the perfect start to their campaign in Qatar, smashing Iran 6-2.
The Three Lions were less impressive in their second game in Group B as they were held to a goalless draw by USA.
Tottenham striker Kane gave England fans an injury scare against Iran after sustaining a blow early in the second half.
While he stayed on the pitch, England considered sending Kane for a scan to assess the damage just two days before their meeting with USA in Doha.
Souness believes Kane’s desire to surpass Wayne Rooney as England’s all-time record goalscorer was a factor in his decision to stay on against Iran and says it could have ‘come back to bite’ not only the striker but England’s World Cup hopes.
‘My view is that Harry Kane was selfish against Iran on Monday – staying on the field for 27 minutes after suffering an ankle injury, even though England were 3-0 up,’ Souness told the Daily Mail.
‘Gareth Southgate needed to protect Kane from himself there but failed to do so. Kane has historical issues with his ankles and the injury was serious enough for him to need a scan but he needlessly played on.
‘I know from experience that the ankle can be complex. I had a lot of issues with them when I was a young player at Middlesbrough, which I put down to playing five-a-sides every day on the concrete floor of the indoor gym at Tottenham, where I started my career.
‘Gravity dictates that the swelling will stay within and around the ankle. It’s not like your knee where you flush it out and it goes somewhere. You get micro-bleeds and the swelling stays there in the ankle.
‘You need to act quickly. The trick is to stop small injuries becoming bigger injuries. The medics talk about RICE — meaning ‘Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation — when it comes to ankles.
‘Harry would have wanted to play on for 27 minutes because he saw goals in the game. He has that selfish streak that all great strikers possess. It looks like he got away with one there.
‘Hopefully, there’s not an issue with his ankle in this tournament and it doesn’t come back to bite him when England are facing stronger opposition than an utterly woeful Iran in that first game. If England are to go far, they need Kane firing.’
Kane failed to add to his England tally against USA on Friday night but was keen to take the positives from the stalemate.
Avoiding defeat means England will qualify for the knockout stages of the World Cup and likely finish top in Group B if they avoid a heavy defeat against Wales on Tuesday.
Three Lions captain Kane said: ‘It wasn’t our best performance – we created some good positions but we didn’t have the final product.
‘But it’s a great clean sheet and it puts us in a great position in the group. We had two or three good opportunities and we didn’t put them away.
‘We were playing a tough team. We move on. A draw isn’t the end of the world for us. It puts us in a great position. No game is easy in the World Cup.
‘After our first performance people thought we would landslide every team we play but it doesn’t work like that. We were playing against a really organised team with some quality players and we respect that.’
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