Gareth Southgate has revealed that he did not have to step in to lift Harry Kane after the striker’s missed penalty against France led to England’s elimination from the World Cup.
Kane had already converted from the penalty spot earlier in the second half to bring England level in the quarterfinal and he was tasked with going up against his club teammate Hugo Lloris for a second time late in the encounter after Oliver Giroud had restored France’s lead.
However, this time, the 29-year-old uncharacteristically failed to hit the target and the Three Lions bowed out of the tournament as a result.
Some might have feared that the World Cup disappointment would affect Kane for the remainder of the season but the striker has continued banging in the goals for Spurs since the restart, having found the back of the net 20 times in 27 league matches so far this season (Transfermarkt).
The England captain will join up with his international teammates for the first time since the World Cup this week for their European Championship qualifiers against Italy and Ukraine, with the Tottenham man needing just one goal to surpass Wayne Rooney as the nation’s leading goalscorer.
When asked if the penalty miss back in December will play on Kane’s mind, Southgate told The Guardian: “I don’t think it’s a big hurdle really.
“I had a good chat with him while we were away. I sent him a message before he went back to his club and then I took a step back and had a look at how it was.
“And I haven’t really felt the need to pick the phone up. It (his recovery) is there in his performances for Spurs.
“Sometimes you can busy yourself and look for a pat on the back by getting in touch with a player but I can’t take any credit for what he’s done.
“What I’ve observed is a player still super-confident, still ready to perform, still hungry to score goals.
“He’s obviously gone through the personal landmark with Spurs and then there’s this one that he’s going to nail with us at some point.
“So, I actually spoke to him earlier this week, but I’ve been able to take a step back and let him get on with it. Sometimes there’s no need to interfere.”
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That penalty miss and the subsequent criticism was never really going to affect Kane, given how mentally strong he is and the level head he has on his shoulders.
That will certainly not be playing in the 29-year-old’s mind when he takes to the field against the Italians in Naples on Thursday.
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