Southgate backs Kane amid poor Euros form; captain to start v. Czechs

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England have been slow out of the EURO 2020 starting blocks with a win and a draw (and just one goal scored), and no one has epitomized those struggles quite like Harry Kane, but manager Gareth Southgate has given his captain a full backing and confirmed he will start the final group game against the Czech Republic on Tuesday (3 pm ET).

[ MORE: 10 things we learned at EURO 2020 – 2nd group games done ]

“You can assume that, yes, absolutely,” Southgate said on Sunday, leaving no doubt that he backs Harry Kane to recapture the goal-scoring form which saw him score 33 for Tottenham (plus 16 assists – all competitions) this season. But, what, specifically, gives Southgate the confidence in Kane after a pair of nonexistent performances? — quotes from our partners at Sky Sports:

“He is fundamental not only to the goals he scores but the build-up play and everything else he brings.

“I know there will be a lot of questions being asked about him at the moment but he has been through that 100 times before and I have answered that in this role several times in the past and he has come up with the goals that have won us the next games and I expect that to be the same moving forward.”

“Harry, during the [2018] World Cup, we ended up with him playing a lot of football and we’ve felt the need to manage that load a little bit this time and we have got good options on the bench to bring people into the game.

“But he is our most important player, there is no doubt about that. You’ve only got to look at his goal-scoring record with us to see his importance to the team.”‘

Despite their less than ideal start to EURO 2020, England will still win Group D with a win over the Czechs to set themselves up for a round-of-16 clash with the 2nd-place side from Group E (Sweden, Slovakia, Spain, Poland) and a likely clash with either Italy or Belgium in the quarterfinals.

It goes without saying, but Harry Kane will have to score against those sides if England are to be crowned champions of EURO 2020.

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