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West Ham United captain Mark Noble has told Harry Kane’s critics to give the striker a break.

Kane has struggled for form so far this season, scoring just twice in six matches across all competitions so far.

The Tottenham star hasn’t looked his usual self since injuring his ankle back in March, although since then he has scored the goals that sealed a top three finish for Spurs last term and won the Golden Boot at the World Cup – not bad for an out-of-form player.

There have been suggestions Kane needs a rest, but his importance for club and country has led to him playing the majority of minutes for Tottenham and England already this season.

Writing in a column for the London Evening Standard, Noble has leapt to the defence of his countryman despite the rivalry between Spurs and West Ham.

He wrote: “I’d like to talk about Harry Kane. I know all about our rivalry with Tottenham and, yes, it’s extra special when we beat them, but I think it’s ludicrous the amount of criticism he’s getting recently.

“He’s the England captain, he’s just led our nation to a World Cup semi-final and given us the most enjoyment we’ve had in a long time watching our national team – and he won the Golden Boot as the tournament’s top scorer.

“He had about a week’s holiday before coming back, he and his missus have a new baby so, please, give him a break!

“He’s only human. No-one can play at their peak all the time and even the best strikers, like Harry, will have little periods when the goals dry up.

“Harry does a lot more for both England and Spurs than score goals and, as a nation, we need to stick by him a little bit. We need to remember he’s one of our country’s best players – if not the best player – and he will come back soon.

“He may be a bit tired or whatever. I don’t know him personally, but from everything I hear about him, no-one works harder.

“I just think, as a nation, we should cherish him and the rest of our English players in what is a smaller and smaller pool.

“Let’s encourage our English players, look after them, rather than jumping on their backs too soon.”

In Tuesday’s defeat to Inter Milan, Kane missed a chance he arguably would have buried when fully fit and firing, leading to further concerns about his condition.

Regardless, the 25-year-old is still almost certain to start against Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday – check out our predicted XI here.

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