Harry Kane can boost U21s, says Gareth Southgate

Thursday 21 May 2015
Harry Kane, right, with his England U21s team-mates

England Under-21s boss Gareth Southgate says he cannot wait to see Harry Kane lead the line in this summer’s Euro Finals. 

The Tottenham Hotspur striker was named in Southgate’s provisional list for the trip to Czech Republic next month. 

And after a stunning season for both club and country, when he became the highest scoring Englishman in the Premier League and earned his first senior Three Lions cap, Southgate says it is a boost for his squad to have Kane in the group. 

England v Belarus

Under-21 International
Oakwell, Barnsley
7.45pm Thursday 11 June 2015

“Harry has been a big part of this [campaign] and part of the dynamic of this group,” said Southgate.

“He’s had a fantastic season and has been an important part of our team.

“We want to give him the opportunity to show he can do this on a big stage. It’s a fantastic experience and we’ve got some great fixtures to look forward to."

Kane’s rise to prominence this season has brought up the question of whether a summer tournament would be too much for the 21-year-old. 

After this coming weekend’s Premier League conclusion, he is expected to travel to Australia with Spurs for an end-of-season exhibition game in Melbourne. 

With the squad meeting up on 2 June to start their preparations for the Euros, Southgate has granted Kane an extra week to recover, before joining the rest of the squad to continue their training at St. George’s Park. 

And the head coach revealed it was a straightforward conversation with White Hart Lane boss Mauricio Pochettino in relation to their three players in the squad. 

“I have to say, Tottenham are one of our best clubs in all of the age groups that we work with,” said Southgate.

“We have a tremendous number of good young players at every level from Spurs and I’ve got a really good relationship with Mauricio.

“We’d like to take our best players to this tournament and give them the experience and that’s the basis of the discussion that we had.

“We’re grateful for their support as we are with all of the clubs.”

Kane has been an almost ever-present squad member with the U21s since the qualifying campaign began in September 2013.

Gareth Southgate has a close working relationship with Harry Kane

Gareth Southgate has a close working relationship with Harry Kane

Along the way, he has scored a hat-trick in San Marino, a winner in Estonia and a vital equaliser in the play-off with Croatia before his remarkable form for his club caught the eyes of the nation.

But it is the attitude and application behind-the-scenes which has always impressed Southgate most, even when he was not a regular in the U21s’ starting line-up. 

“He’s got a really strong mentality, he’s very focused in his practice and his belief in himself,” revealed the former Crystal Palace, Aston Villa and Middlesbrough man. 

“At the beginning of this campaign, we started with Saido [Berahino] and Harry was very much of the belief ‘why not me?’ 

“He was in and out, but every time he’s played for us, he’s made a huge contribution and this season, he’s just flown with us and the club. 

“If you speak to anybody who has worked with him, that mentality and mindset is probably one of his biggest strengths.” 

England will take on Belarus in Barnsley on Thursday 11 June before they head out to Czech Republic for the Euros. 

Tickets for the game at Oakwell are on sale now, priced at £10 for adults and £5 for concessions. Call 0871 2266777 or email boxoffice@barnsleyfc.co.uk for details.

By Nicholas Veevers