Stan Collymore has urged Harry Kane not to drop deep to create chances for others and be more selfish by taking up goal-scoring positions.
While Kane has always possessed the technique, vision and passing range to be an effective playmaker, those qualities have come to the fore this season in the slightly deeper role he has played in at Tottenham.
However, the 27-year-old received some criticism from pundits for dropping into midfield during the first half of England’s 2-0 win over Albania on Sunday, with the likes of Roy Keane and Ian Wright urging the Three Lions captain to be in and around the box.
Gareth Southgate insisted after the game that he was happy with Kane’s contribution in deeper areas, with the England boss labelling the Spurs star’s link-up play as ‘exceptional’.
However, Collymore has echoed a similar sentiment to Keane and Wright, with the former Liverpool man insisting that Kane only needs to be thinking about scoring as many goals as he can.
Collymore wrote in his column for The Daily Mirror: “If Harry Kane wants to knock Robert Lewandowski off his perch as the world’s best centre-forward then he has to stop playing like he did in those first 20 minutes against Albania.
“Lewandowski is an out-and-out striker, a goalscorer who sometimes comes deep to pop the ball off but essentially works within the confines of the 18-yard box.
“Kane, meanwhile, is the arch goals-and-assists man, someone who comes deep to spray passes left and right, and allows others to bomb past him.
“I’m not trying to hammer him for that, because his figures back up how well it has worked for him and Tottenham over the years.
“But with England, he needs to separate himself from the job he does with Spurs and focus only on getting on the last man and demanding others get the ball to him.
“Early on against Albania, he was dropping and drifting, and there was no need for that with Raheem Sterling, Phil Foden, Mason Mount and Declan Rice alongside him.
“But when he did go and stand in the box, Sterling popped off a pass to Luke Shaw, he put in a standard cross and, lo and behold, Kane got on the scoresheet.
“That’s what I want to see more of because, if he does want to be remembered as the best of his time, then it’s goals he will be measured by. That’s what will count if he does ever join one of the really big boys in Europe.
“I’m not belittling Spurs there — they are a medium to big club who have been a big noise in the Premier League for five years and they have a cracking stadium.
“But at a Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Liverpool, Manchester City or Manchester United they wouldn’t care how many assists he got if he only scored 10 or 15 a season.”
Collymore asserted that the only way the Tottenham man can get to Robert Lewandowski’s level is if he becomes more selfish.
He added: “The really big strikers, like Lewandowski, worry only about hitting those sorts of numbers, including the decisive strikes at the business end of the biggest competitions for club and country.
“He has proven himself in that respect time and again, and we’ll see this week how much weaker Poland are without him.
“He is streets ahead of Kane as an out-and-out centre-forward and in this exciting England team he’d be saying, ‘I’m just going to stand on the last defender and I will get goals’.
“That’s what the biggest fish in the biggest ponds do and I guarantee that if Kane was at Real, Bayern, United, City or Liverpool he doesn’t give England another 20 minutes like that one.
“Instead, he’d just hold the ball up and go, ‘Right, you lot serve me.’ It’s the sort of arrogance that comes with being at the biggest clubs and the fact he’s not showing that yet means now might be the time for him to join one.”
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Collymore would have a point if Kane’s goal output was taking a hit as a result of him dropping deep. However, the striker has continued finding the back of the net on a consistent basis this season. As we saw on Sunday, Kane still manages to get into goal-scoring positions when balls are played into the box.
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