Concerns over the Three Lions captain’s physical condition have been expressed by fans and pundits alike after two underwhelming displays in Group D that saw him twice substituted by manager Gareth Southgate.
While England still overcame Croatia despite Kane’s below-par performance thanks to a Raheem Sterling goal, the whole attack floundered in Friday night’s frustrating stalemate against Scotland at Wembley, which only served to exacerbate concerns over the wantaway Tottenham talisman after a long and gruelling domestic season.
England’s chances of ending 55 years of hurt at major international tournaments this summer without a fit and firing Kane seems implausible.
However, the 27-year-old claimed that he is not struggling physically ahead of Tuesday night’s Group D decider against the Czech Republic and once again insisted he has no problem with Southgate’s decision to take him off in the opening two matches in search of more energy.
“Gareth is within his rights to make the changes he thinks are best for the team,” Kane said, per The Guardian. “What we’ve learned over past tournaments is about trying to peak at the right time. The best time to be peaking is in the knockout stages and hopefully kick on from there.
“Maybe in Russia [in 2018] there were times, towards the quarter- and semi-final, when I wasn’t as sharp as I wanted to be. In the end we didn’t get to where we wanted to go, maybe partly for that reason.
“It’s about managing the squad, making sure everyone is feeling as fit and sharp as possible. In my case, it was a tough couple of games and it’s about making sure I’m right for the rest of them. I didn’t have any issues. I didn’t feel physically I wasn’t up to it. I felt going into those games as good as I’ve felt all season, if I’m honest.”