Alan Shearer questions Harry Kane role during Serbia clash as England captain’s bizarre stats are revealed

Alan Shearer questions Harry Kane role during Serbia clash as England captain’s bizarre stats are revealed

ENGLAND legend Alan Shearer has explained why Harry Kane played a “different role” against Serbia on Sunday.

The Three Lions clinched a 1-0 win over the Eagles thanks to an early goal from Jude Bellingham.

AlamyHarry Kane was limited to just one shot against Serbia[/caption]

GettyThe striker was man-marked throughout the match[/caption]

Kane didn’t see too much of the ball

However, captain Kane – who scored 44 goals in 45 appearances for Bayern Munich last season – managed just one shot.

Shearer claims the striker was forced to keep away from much of the action in order to create more space for his team-mates in midfield.

That’s because he was being man-marked by Serbia’s back three.

In his column for BBC Sport, Newcastle icon Shearer wrote: “Harry Kane’s role in Sunday’s Euro 2024 win against Serbia was different to what we are used to seeing him do for England, but it was just as important for the team.

“We know Kane can drop deep and play wonderful passes forward for runners to get behind the opposition but, whether we were on top in the game or under pressure, he had another job to do in Gelsenkirchen.

“As he explained afterwards, he stayed high early on because Serbia were defending deep and marking man-to-man.

“If he had dropped into midfield he would have brought a defender back with him, when we wanted to give our midfielders and other forwards as much room and time on the ball as possible.

“The plan was to leave the midfield to it because, although Kane was not getting the ball, he was still drawing defenders to him, which allowed our other players more space.”

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Kane was limited to 24 touches

Trent showed he’s a central character for England… he deserves to keep spot, says Wilshere

THIS game felt a bit like an audition for Trent Alexander-Arnold in centre midfield, writes SunSport columnist Jack Wilshere.

I think he passed it and deserves another chance to show all the qualities that he can bring to the role.

I was pleased when I saw Trent in the starting line-up.

It’s a little bit braver than we have normally seen from Gareth Southgate and I like that.

It was: ‘Go on, go and play!’ It didn’t necessarily work out like that but that wasn’t Trent’s fault.

Southgate was experimenting with him in there, seeing if it worked.

If we get later in the tournament against the big teams, you will need someone who has played in there a few times and understands the position a bit.

The combination between Trent, Kyle Walker and Bukayo Saka is a promising one.

You see Trent naturally drift over to that right side and receive it almost like a full-back.

It’s interesting what happens then with Walker.

He was still getting involved in and around the outside, which was good to see, and it was Walker who got forward to help create the Jude Bellingham goal.

That link-up is something we need to exploit more. We should probably have used it more last night as well.

At the start, he was a little bit shaky. He gave the ball away a couple of times, and one of them led to that decent chance for Aleksandar Mitrovic.

When he plays for Liverpool he comes inside. But it’s different when you’re in there from the start. It’s 360 degree pressure, from all sides.

I always found international football that bit quicker. You’ll often receive it with your back to the game and you’ve scanned, but you need to get more on the half turn to see what’s coming.

But it was difficult for Trent, especially in the first half, for him to show his range of passing. When you’re playing against a back five, with four in front, and they’re stubborn and just waiting . . . it is very hard.

There’s no space in behind, they’re very tight and organised.

And when the ball is going over your head, your job then becomes jumping on second balls, disrupting and trying to shield the big two up front.

Trent’s positioning was good and he made some good interceptions. I think he can — and should — hold on to the ball a bit more, draw the pressure, and then play the ball forward.

If someone comes to him, that frees up space for  someone else. And he and Declan Rice have the ability to find Bellingham and Phil Foden through the lines. I would like to have seen more of that. As the game opens up, Trent is a player who can pick the right pass.

Especially in transition, like he did with a lovely one down the side for Saka in the first half and another early in the second.

It was also good to see him get forward for a decent long-range shot.

But Trent was not helped by England’s performance in the  second half. We weren’t aggressive enough, we didn’t press well enough.

Trent’s audition lasted just under 70 minutes in the end. I believe  it is something Gareth should  persist with.

He is more than intelligent enough to work it out. And as the tournament goes on, I’m sure he will be fine in there.

He went on to add: “He was better off staying high up the pitch, holding the ball up and protecting it, and winning free-kicks – and he did that well later in the game.”

Speaking after the match, Kane told BBC Sport: “We knew it was going to be a tough game, Serbia pose a lot of threats and have some good players.

“They will make it a battle for you and I think we dealt with it really well.

“There was a spell in the second half where we got camped in our box and we found it hard to get out but it was an important win tonight.

“It’s a tough game. They are a tough team and have good players. We stood up to it well and it is good to get the three points and [for us] to progress. It’s good that we got the win today.”

England next face Denmark on Thursday, while Serbia take on Slovenia.

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