Gareth Southgate has confirmed that he will manage Harry Kane’s playing time during the triple header game for World Cup qualifiers in March.
The 27-year-old captain is well on his way to breaking Wayne Rooney’s 53-goal record for England after scoring 32 goals in 51 games.
But Kane has not scored a goal for his country since the November 2019 win in Kosovo and would see the lowest-ranked team in the world, Wembley and San Marino, on Thursday as a great opportunity to improve their record.
However, this game would also be an ideal moment to rest the skipper. Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho said last week he hoped the striker could “compromise” with Southgate over the course of the season.
“If I allowed Harry to make that decision, he would be playing any minute,” Southgate said on Wednesday. “That will not happen.
“But you see, it’s great that we have a captain who wants to play every minute of every game.
“We have to keep in mind that he had extra time last Thursday and another high intensity game last Sunday, so we really have situations with many players and we have to make sure we manage the game properly.”
“We did it this week through training and we have to be just as fresh for the games against Albania and Poland as we are tomorrow.
“So this is not an unusual challenge for us as a coaching team, as a medical team and our physical performance team.
“But we always communicate well with the players and I think we’re in a good place tomorrow to come into the game.”
Kane’s goalless streak of six games doesn’t affect Southgate, who believes fitness issues and decisions on the pitch were against his skipper earlier in the season.
“First, he’s in a good place,” added Southgate.
“He always looks to the next challenge. He carries the result, he feels responsible for the results, whether for us or his club. He is always someone who sees what is possible for his team.
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“The games for him in the fall were unique. He scored a goal in August and was falsely denied the first 10 minutes of the first game. If so, you know the whole fall can be very different, but it was in the middle of the preseason during this time, so still physically up to date.
“We couldn’t start him in the first game in October either because he had a minor injury problem and we had dropped to 10 men within half an hour of the second.
“I’m not worried about Harry in terms of his goalscoring. He’s the premier league top scorer and assists. I think that’s a really remarkable statistic.”
“We are very happy with his position. Of course we have to be sensible in what we do. He played in extra time on Thursday and played again on Sunday.”