Gareth Southgate says bringing Harry Kane on for the final 30 minutes of England’s friendly against Switzerland on Tuesday, despite admitting the Tottenham star needed a rest, was “no big issue” after the Three Lions’ 1-0 victory.
Earlier this week, Southgate revealed Kane wouldn’t be starting against Switzerland with a view to maintaining the striker’s long-term fitness.
The England boss stuck to his word but received some criticism after introducing Kane with half and hour left to play, with some supporters suggesting the 25-year-old shouldn’t have been involved at all.
Kane has scored two goals in four appearances for Spurs so far this season following his Golden Boot-winning summer but has looked rusty since the latter stages of the World Cup.
And Southgate, whose side avoided a fourth straight defeat by beating Switzerland 1-0, has attempted to explain the thinking behind giving Kane 30 minutes in a friendly.
“I think he’s going to get matches at his club,” Southgate said (via Sky Sports). “He’s had three days of little training. We needed to keep him ticking over.
“If he didn’t play today, he would have gone out and done some running on the pitch. Playing him for 30 minutes was no big issue. To start the game is a different sort of feel, mentally it’s different.
“Also, we wanted to finish the game strongly. We had a real jigsaw to figure in terms of who we could play and take off.”
Kane will almost certainly start for Tottenham against Liverpool on Saturday after scoring twice in the last season’s corresponding fixture at Wembley.
Spurs fans will be hoping the club’s talisman doesn’t suffer from burnout ahead of a crucial run of fixtures both domestically and in Europe.