Gareth Southgate makes concerning Harry Kane admission with explanation for poor form

Gareth Southgate has admitted Harry Kane is struggling with his fitness levels.

Southgate pointed to Kane missing the final weeks of the season with Bayern Munich because of a back injury and that impacting on his ability to lead from the front.

England boss Southgate also explained that he substituted Kane to bring some freshness to his attack, although he insisted that it is a team game and his captain cannot shoulder the blame. Southgate said: “We felt with the three front players that they played the bulk of the game the other day and we needed to get some legs onto the pitch. Harry’s only had one 90 minutes in five or six weeks.

“Given what the other game took out of us, given the heat against Denmark, we needed to press better towards the end of the game and it was always in our mind that all of the forward players might need freshening at that point.

“The way we are playing isn’t about an individual player. We’ve got to play better as a group. It is my responsibility to find better solutions and it is my responsibility for the results and we have to work intelligently to find ways to press the ball better and keep the ball better.”

Southgate also said that it is up to him to find the solution to navigate a way through the biggest challenge of his career.

Southgate added: “We’re in an intense arena and have to find a way of embracing that, walking towards the challenge and understanding what it is and playing in a more composed manner than we have so far.

“For me it is not about individuals. It is about the team and it is my responsibility to sort that out. This is a different environment to anything else and I know that over the years. I have to guide the fellas through that. And it is simple - we have to play better than we are at the moment.”

AND IT'S NOT JUST KANE...

Gareth Southgate has admitted his England team are not fit enough.

Southgate says they have “limitations” because the players are struggling to play a high-energy pressing game because of their physical condition.

England boss Southgate says the overall performance has to improve from their disappointing draw against Denmark but insists the responsibility lies with him as manager.

But Southgate’s remarks will cause alarm among fans but he says it is the reason why England have made a habit of starting well, taking the lead and then sitting too deep.

Southgate said: “It’s because we are not pressing well enough, with enough intensity. We have limitations in how we can do that with the physical condition. We can’t press as high up the pitch as we might have done in the qualifiers for example.

gareth southgate makes concerning harry kane admission with explanation for poor form

Harry Kane scored but struggled against Denmark

‌“And we are not keeping the ball well enough. It is as simple as that. We have to keep the ball better and build with more control. Then we will be defending less and we’ll have more confidence.”

Southgate has been searingly honest about England’s performances in their opening two games against Serbia and Denmark, admitting they have not been good enough.

But England did start the last Euros with a win against Croatia, then a depressing draw against Scotland and still went all the way to the final.

England will guarantee finishing top of the Group if they can beat Slovenia next Tuesday and that would secure a last-16 tie against a third-placed team and a potential passage into the quarter-finals.

Southgate said: “Look, I love working with this group of players. We are in a different situation to the previous tournaments we have been in, but in other ways exactly the same with four points after two games. But we know the performance level has to be better.

“In some respects because points-wise we are in a similar situation. But we have to play better, it is as simple as that. I’m not going to hide from the realities of that. I have to find the solutions to doing that. We can draw on what we like, but we have to deliver.”

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