Liverpool star backs England captain Harry Kane after bizarre Cristiano Ronaldo claim

Harry Kane has been told he's 'lazy' like Cristiano Ronaldo

Harry Kane has been told he's 'lazy' like Cristiano Ronaldo

England have scraped their way through to the Euro 2024 semi-final and will face the Netherlands, and Gareth Southgate is still facing criticism for his team selections.

The Three Lions narrowly beat Slovakia in extra-time in the Round of 16 after a last-minute Jude Bellingham equaliser, and only defeated Switzerland on penalties in the quarter-final.

Even though he’s England’s captain and joint-top scorer, Harry Kane has come under fire for what many consider to be below-par performances in the tournament.

Former Tottenham man Jamie O’Hara did not hold back in his criticism of Kane after his poor showing against Switzerland at the weekend.

O’Hara likened the situation to Cristiano Ronaldo’s in the Portugal team, suggesting that Kane is only in Southgate’s starting XI ‘because of his name.’

Portugal boss Roberto Martinez was criticised for not dropping Ronaldo from his team, even though the legendary striker is a shadow of his former self.

England had more problems with Harry Kane up front against Switzerland. He was non-existent. It’s like having Cristiano Ronaldo in the team – he’s only there because of his name,” O’Hara told Grosvenor Sport.

“Gareth Southgate will never take him off because he thinks he might score – and he has scored a couple in this tournament – but he’s miles off the pace at the moment.

“You can say what you want about his overall game and what he brings to the team, but he hasn’t been good enough. Either Ivan Toney or Ollie Watkins probably deserve to start or at least get some minutes.

 

“England don’t need to keep Kane on the pitch anymore – the whole point of doing that was because he could still take penalties, but England have top penalty-takers now.

“There has to be a conversation about him not playing against the Netherlands – he looks laboured, lazy, he’s not making runs into the box and he’s not busting a gut to score goals anymore.”

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Alexander-Arnold backs under-fire Harry Kane

While Kane’s spot in the England starting XI has been questioned by pundits, that is not the opinion of England stars like Trent Alexander-Arnold, who have come out in support of the centre-forward.

“Anyone who is facing England would like to see Harry Kane not playing,” Alexander-Arnold said when asked if the Netherlands would be pleased if Kane was left out by Southgate.

“I think we are talking about England’s record goal scorer, so that is as big as anything you can say about him.

“He scores goals, he is a striker, he scored two in the tournament, helped us win games and then as our captain, as our leader, he is someone who leads by example and puts everything into games.

“So whether or not he is getting criticised, people will always have opinions and people will always say things, but he is leading us into a semi-final on Wednesday so he must be doing something right.

“He is part of the reason why the environment is such a good one within camp. And a reason why we are heading to a semi-final.”

Kane already has the upper hand on Van Dijk

It’s also worth noting that Kane has a good record against Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk, who will almost certainly feature for the Netherlands on Wednesday night.

Kane has scored six times in 10 appearances against Van Dijk in his career. Ex-Man Utd defender Wes Brown believes his record against the Dutchman could play into England’s hands.

“Those little match-ups, they are talked about. Not just by pundits, but in the changing room,” Brown said on the Euro Thrash Podcast. 

“You know you do well against this person, that this person is the nightmare and always scores regardless of whether he plays bad or not. They are personal battles that come into games.

“Six out of 10 for Kane against Van Dijk is not bad. I am not saying it was him who was marking him for all the goals, but ultimately Van Dijk will know that as well.

“Kane will get confidence from that, he will know that he has scored against him before and will want to do it again.”

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