Gareth Southgate has labelled Harry Kane “the best goalscorer in the world” following his last minute winner against Croatia in the UEFA Nations League on Sunday.
The England manager also said it is impossible to substitute his captain, as it was at the World Cup, during which Southgate was criticised in some quarters for sticking with Kane despite question marks over his fitness.
Kane scored his 20th goal in his 35th senior international appearance on Sunday, sending the Three Lions through to the semi-finals of the Nations League, which take place next summer.
The 25-year-old won the Golden Boot at the World Cup, although he scored just once in the knockout stages amid suggestions he hadn’t fully regained fitness since injuring his ankle for Tottenham in March.
But after Sunday’s victory, Southgate claimed it is virtually impossible to remove Kane because of the goal threat he provides up until the very end of matches.
“He is the best goalscorer in the world, frankly,” Southgate said (via the London Evening Standard). “You’re always loathe to take a player off of his ability.
“I know people have criticised those decisions over the summer, but he is our penalty taker, our leader and in 98 per cent of the games his hold-up play and everything else he brings as well as his goalscoring is critical.
“He played a fantastic pass for Raheem [Sterling] having dropped off and turned in the first half. We have huge belief in him and he is so hungry to lead the team on and lead the team further.”
Kane has scored 10 goals in 16 appearances across all competitions for Spurs so far this term and will be hoping to add to that tally against Chelsea at Wembley this weekend.