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Should England rest Harry Kane against Switzerland?

| 10.09.2018

Striker could benefit from a breather

Despite losing, England can take some positives from their 2-1 defeat to Spain on Saturday.

Gareth Southgate will have been pleased by how his side weathered a Spanish storm in the first 20 minutes of the second-half and regained a foothold. Joe Gomez impressed in defence and looks a very exciting prospect. Marcus Rashford’s speed caused problems too.

But Harry Kane struggled to make an impact. It wasn’t for a lack of trying, but the Tottenham Hotspur star didn’t look at his sharpest.

England play Switzerland in friendly action on Tuesday as 7/10 favourites. The Coral News Team have looked at why Southgate should consider resting his captain.

Plenty of playing time

Kane has developed into one of the best strikers in the world and Tottenham understandably want him to play as much as possible.

Prior to this season, he’d appeared in 139 of 152 league games for the North London side over the previous four campaigns.

That isn’t necessarily a problem, but he hasn’t had much time to recover from his efforts.

The 25-year-old damaged ankle ligaments against Bournemouth in March but returned to action ahead of schedule. Then he went to the World Cup, where he finished as top scorer with six goals, even though he wasn’t quite at his best.

After an exhausting summer in Russia, he was back in the Spurs side less than a month later for the first game of the new campaign. He’s also had a child recently, which will no doubt have affected his sleeping. Is it all catching up to him?

Shots on the slide  

One of the reasons Kane is such a prolific goalscorer is that he’s always willing to have a go. If he gets a sight of goal, he’ll usually fire a shot off.

From 2016-17 to 2017-18, he averaged 4.35 shots per game in league action. But at the World Cup, he only took 2.3 shots per game. And he’s only averaged 2.5 in the league so far this term.

The stats suggest he’s been performing well below his usual level over the last few months.

Long-term gain

Over the next few months, Kane isn’t going to have much chance of a rest at club level. There’s fierce competition for a top-four spot and Spurs have been drawn in a tough Champions League group.

The club don’t have a reliable alternative to him either. Fernando Llorente offers much less up front than Kane does, which would have a huge impact on the team’s performance. Vincent Janssen has been loaned out too.

England don’t have anything to play for in a friendly against Switzerland. Southgate already knows exactly what he’s getting with Kane. He could experiment here and give other players a chance to impress.

Kane will no doubt want to play, but a breather may help him get back to his very best.

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Daniel Anwar

Daniel has written about sport for Coral, Squawka, FourFourTwo and the Premier League, among others.