Gareth Southgate loves Harry Kane’s desire to play every minute but the England boss will be managing his captain’s game time across March’s World Cup qualification triple-header.
The 27-year-old striker is well on course to break Wayne Rooney’s 53-goalscoring record for the Three Lions, having netted 32 times in just 51 appearances.
But Kane has not scored for his country since the November 2019 win in Kosovo and would see Thursday’s Wembley clash with San Marino, the lowest-ranked side in the world, as a great chance to add to his tally.
This match would, though, also be an ideal moment to rest the Three Lions skipper, with Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho last week saying he hoped the striker could reach a ‘compromise’ with Southgate over playing time.
‘If I allowed Harry to make that decision, he would play every minute,’ Southgate said on Wednesday. ‘That won’t be happening.
‘But, look, it is brilliant we have a captain who wants to play every minute of every game.
‘We have got to be mindful he had extra time last Thursday and another high intensity game last Sunday, so we have got situations with a lot of the players, really, and we have got to make sure we manage the fixture correctly.
‘We have done that through training this week as well and we need to be just as fresh with the games against Albania and Poland as we do tomorrow.
‘So, that is not an unusual challenge for us as a coaching team and as a medical team and our physical performance team.
‘But we always communicate well with the players and I think we are in a good place going into the game tomorrow.’
Kane’s six-game scoreless streak does not concern Southgate, who believes fitness concerns and on-pitch decisions went against his skipper earlier in the season.
‘Firstly, he’s in a good place,’ Southgate added.
‘He’s always looking at the next challenge. He bears the result, he feels responsibility for results whether with us or his club. He is always someone seeing what is possible for his team.
‘The games for him in the autumn were unique. In August, he scored and was wrongly disallowed in the first 10 minutes of the first game, if that goes in you know the whole autumn can look very different but he was in the middle of pre-season in that period, so still getting up to speed physically.
‘Again in October we couldn’t start him in the first game because he came in with a bit of an injury problem and then we were down to 10 men within half an hour of the second.
‘I’m certainly not concerned about Harry in terms of his goalscoring. He’s the leading scorer in the Premier League and leading assists, I think, it’s a remarkable statistic that, really.
‘We are very happy with where he is at. We’ve obviously got to be sensible in what we do, he played extra time on Thursday and then played again on Sunday.’
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