Football pundit Graeme Souness told ITV Sport it was ‘totally wrong’ how Gareth Southgate handled Harry Kane during the win over Iran on Monday.

England kicked off their World Cup in spectacular fashion with a comprehensive 6-2 win over Iran. Goals from Jude Bellingham, Raheem Sterling, Marcus Rashford, Jack Grealish, and a brace from Bukayo Saka delivered all three points for the Three Lions.

Harry Kane

(Photo by Mike Hewitt – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

Harry Kane was unable to add to his 51 international goals (Transfermarkt), but he did provide two assists. The England captain was praised for his overall performance.

There were concerns after the game, though, that the 29-year-old had picked up an injury. Kane underwent a scan to assess his ankle (The Athletic) but it appears no serious damage was sustained (Daily Mail). Southgate is expected to name an unchanged XI from the win over Iran (SkySports).

The concerns could all have been avoided had Kane been brought off at halftime, as many have suggested should have happened. Kane took a hit early in the second half, but stayed on the field until the 76th minute.

Graeme Souness has added his name to the list of observers who think Southgate took an unnecessary risk with his captain.

Souness said (ITV1 via Sky Sports): “I am watching England, with my manager’s hat on, then when I see Harry Kane’s challenge and I am thinking ‘this boy has a history with these ankles’.

“He stayed down for a bit. He wasn’t right and walking gingerly on it. I am thinking ‘he has to come off now.’ That happened three minutes into the second half. He went off in the 75th minute. He had 27 minutes running on that ankle.”

Souness suggested Kane may have been motivated to stay on the pitch himself, though: “Some players need saving from themselves. He’s a goalscorer. He is thinking ‘there are goals in this game against Iran. That’s why I am going to stay on.’

“That’s a mistake. I think the manager should have taken him off immediately. You are 3-0 up, at that time. You don’t need to risk Harry anymore. I think England can do really, really well, as long as Harry scores lots of goals.

“He’s properly rocked that ankle. He would have had a bleed, so for 27 minutes, he has been running about on that ankle bleeding. It’s totally the wrong thing. He should have been off immediately and put on ice – he needed saving from himself.”

Spurs Web Opinion

You can definitely imagine Harry Kane wanting to carry on, but Gareth Southgate should have made that call to take him off and avoided any risk at all. Thankfully, it looks like Kane is going to be okay, but it’s a situation that shouldn’t have occurred at all.

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