Harry Kane’s performance in England’s 1-1 draw against Russia was hardly reminiscent of a man who won the Premier League Golden Boot this season.
The Tottenham striker offered little threat to Russia’s defence and didn’t record a single touch in the opposition box.
And then there’s his role as England’s corner-taker, which has left an entire nation frustrated and perplexed.
SIGN UP NOW
Want to become a GMS writer? Sign up now and submit a 250-word test article: http://gms.to/haveyoursay4
Article continues below
Still, it’s hard to really criticise a man who has proven himself not to be just a one-season wonder. Kane remains the sharpest of the five strikers in Roy Hodgson’s squad and is rightfully tipped as one of England’s biggest dangers.
Yet that might not be enough to spare Kane from being axed for Thursday’s clash against Wales.
Article continues below
The Mirror are reporting that Hodgson is considering starting Daniel Sturridge in the Spurs player’s relief.
It’s disappointing news for Kane if true. And the Mirror are hardly the most unreliable of sources - they correctly revealed England’s starting line-up against Russia a day before Saturday’s match.
However, the decision to start Sturridge is being considered for tactical reasons. Wales manager Chris Coleman employs a 3-5-2 formation that leaves space behind the wing-backs and Sturridge’s pace would help to stretch those gaps in defence.
Jamie Vardy and Marcus Rashford are perhaps even quicker than Sturridge but the Leicester City man’s poor showing in the final warm-up match against Portugal has impacted his standing, while Rashford, 18, would only start as a last resort.
Sturridge’s chances of starting are improved by his relationships with Adam Lallana and Raheem Sterling, both of whom he has played with at Liverpool. It’s believed that Hodgson will select both wingers again in Lens and so starting Sturridge could lead to some seamless attacking football.
Alan Shearer: Kane looked "leggy and tired"
The Sun reported on Sunday that some senior figures inside the England camp have urged the 68-year-old to drop Kane and one man who thinks Hodgson could justify dropping the 22-year-old is Alan Shearer.
“Roy Hodgson would be within his rights to tell Harry Kane that his performance in Saturday's draw against Russia was not good enough and he has to improve or he will change things up front - and rightly so,” Shearer told the BBC, per the Daily Mail.
“I am a huge fan of Kane, and he has had another fantastic season for Tottenham, but he looked very leggy and tired against Russia on Saturday.”
It was England’s inability to find a second goal in Marseille that allowed the Russians to snatch a late draw, so it’s pivotal Hodgson picks the right striker.