England

Gareth Southgate confirms Harry Kane will start for England against Czech Republic

Matt O'Connor-Simpson
Southgate is standing by his captain
Southgate is standing by his captain / Catherine Ivill/Getty Images
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Gareth Southgate has confirmed that Harry Kane will keep his place for England's final Euro 2020 group game against Czech Republic on Tuesday.

Kane has been criticised for his output at the tournament so far. He was a marginal figure in the Three Lions' 1-0 win over Croatia and also struggled as his side drew 0-0 with Scotland on Friday. During both games Kane was substituted, leading to speculation that he may drop to the bench for England's meeting with the Czechs.

However, in an interview with ITV, Southgate put those rumours to bed.

"Well you can assume that, yes, absolutely. I don't mind giving you that one," he said, when asked if Kane would start.

Regarding the striker's substitutions, Southgate explained: "In one of the games, we were already ahead, we needed energy to press and keep the lead.

"We didn't need an additional goal. Harry during the World Cup ended up playing a lot of football and we felt the need to manage that load this time and we have got good options on the bench to bring people into the game.

"He's our most important player, there's no doubt about that. You only have to look at his goalscoring record with us to see his importance to the team.

"He's fundamental, not only in the goals he scores but the build-up play and everything else he brings. I know there'll be a lot of questions about him at the moment but he's been through that 100 times before.

Harry Kane - Soccer Player
Kane has been underwhelming so far / Visionhaus/Getty Images

"I've answered that in this role several times in the past and he's come up with the goals that have won us the next games. I expect that to be the same moving forward."

Although Kane's position is assured, there are several other decisions Southgate needs to make ahead of the Czech Republic game. After a decent opening game, Raheem Sterling was poor against Scotland with many calling for Jack Grealish to be handed a start.

Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson are also returning to fitness and it remains to be seen whether Kieran Tripper will be recalled at left-back.

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