Harry Kane passionately responds to critics as England captain vows to silence doubters in Euro 2024 knockouts

HARRY KANE has launched a bullish defence of his own form and fitness.

The England skipper and all-time record scorer has been widely criticised for sub-standard performances against Serbia and Denmark in his side’s opening two group matches.

Paul EdwardsHarry Kane insists his fitness is certainly not the issue[/caption]

GettyBoss Gareth Southgate and skipper Kane have discussed England’s struggles[/caption]

GettyThe Three Lions revved up for Slovenia by training in Blankenhain[/caption]

GettyKyle Walker hopes to stop England’s form sliding further as he challenges Adam Wharton in practice at the Spa & Golf Resort Weimarer Land[/caption]

But Kane insists he is ‘as fit as I’ve been all season’ – and pointed out that he has scored one more goal than at this stage in England’s previous two tournaments.

Kane was substituted midway through the second half of Thursday’s 1-1 draw with Denmark, despite having opened the scoring.

But in response to criticism of his overall contributions, after a back injury at the end of the domestic season, Kane insists he feels as good as he did while scoring 44 goals in his maiden campaign with Bayern Munich.

He said: “In the games at this tournament I’ve felt as fit as I have all season.

“I know I came off in the second game but that was down to the manager wanting to see something different and freshening up the front players.

“From my point of view I am fit, I am getting better and better in each game.

“In previous tournaments I’ve spoken about trying to make sure you come into your peak for the knockouts. Time will tell but it’s important to go into this knockout stage feeling 100 per cent and I feel I am there.

“Have I played the best that I know I can? No. But I didn’t score in the group stage at the World Cup, I didn’t score in the group stage at the last Euros.

GettyKane, seen hailing his opener in the 1-1 draw vs Denmark, points out his start to the tournament is better than usual in terms of goals[/caption]



Pundits and legends lay into England

ENGLAND’s lifeless display in the 1-1 draw with Denmark left pundits and legends queuing up to take a dig at Gareth Southgate’s team.

Here’s the best of what was said…


“Awful performance, particularly after going up in the game.

“I don’t think one England player can look at themselves and say, ‘I’ve done my job tonight’.

“England were all over the place, far too sloppy in possession, gave the ball away too much and got caught too many times.

“There was no energy, no pace, no guile — Southgate is simply not getting the best out of England’s best players.

“It’s concerning and Gareth will get some serious questions.

“You saw England players lying on their backs — they look absolutely shattered but there’s no excuse for that.”


The BBC host called the performance “lifeless and tepid”.

On Harry Kane he said: “He needs his manager to ask more of him. I would have expected that if I’d put in that kind of performance.”


“The players don’t look the same as they do for their clubs. It is a big concern.”


“Courage and bravery, we’re not really seeing it.

“There’s something amiss with the balance. Bellingham is waving his arms.

“This is a big test for Gareth. It looks like he’s overthinking things.”


“My big worry watching this and for the rest of the tournament?

“England look absolutely knackered. They can’t get close to the ball.

“The surest sign of fatigue is dropping deep.

“Declan Rice is having to cover so much ground. No-one can convince me this is a strategy.”


“It’s strange that we have taken the lead in both games so far, yet instead of it settling us down and giving us the confidence to play, we have failed to take control.

“But what was most worrying was that Denmark had a clear way of playing — while we didn’t.”

“So from that point of view, it’s a bonus to be one goal ahead.”

Ahead of tomorrow’s clash with Slovenia, Kane claims England have been feeling their way into the tournament. 

He said: “It is not a time to panic but a time to improve. In these tournaments at this early stage it is almost like a boxer in the first couple of rounds seeing how everything is at and how they feel.

“Or a golfer in a major tournament in the first round – ‘don’t play yourself out of the tournament. Be calm’.”

England must defeat Slovenia to ensure they finish top of Group C and avoid a likely last-16 clash with hosts Germany.

And Kane, 30, said: “We definitely want to win the group. I don’t think it’s just to avoid anyone.

“Of course Germany have had a fantastic start to the tournament, but I think it’s more the momentum that a win will give us going into the knockout stages.

“People expected us to finish top and we expect to finish top, in the position we’re in now especially.

“We want to go out there on Tuesday and put a marker down for the rest of the tournament.”

Slovenia Euro 2024 guide

THE SCOTLAND of the Balkans – Slovenia have qualified for three tournaments since independence in 1990 but never reached the knockout stages.

However, striker Benjamin Sesko is touted as the next Erling Haaland and gives the Slovenes reason to be more optimistic this time.

MANAGER: Matjaz Kek

In his second spell as boss and has been in charge since 2018 – lost just two qualifying games despite having to overcome the death of his father.

STAR MAN: Jan Oblak

The Slovenes will hope that Sesko can provide the goals at one end while Oblak, one of the best goalkeepers in the world, can keep them out at the other.

How Slovenia attack

Slovenia will be one of few teams at the Euros to play a 4-4-2, with Sesko partnering former Middlesbrough striker Andraz Sporar up front.

When Slovenia attack, the two wingers will come inside to play as makeshift attacking midfielders in a front four. They are also dangerous on the counter-attack.

How Slovenia defend

Slovenia will play in two banks of four and drop deep to deny the opposition space.

They will not break out of their shape to press under almost any circumstances.

Read the full Slovenia Euro 2024 guide, including predicted line-ups, odds and Wags

Kane believes he will keep improving during the Euros

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