Should Harry Kane be taking England corners?

Date published: Monday 13th June 2016 1:31

Should England striker Harry Kane be on corner duty for Roy Hodgson’s men at Euro 2016?

Plenty of fans and pundits were left baffled as England employed Kane as their corner taker in their Euro 2016 opener against Russia.

All six of England’s corners in their opening Euro 2016 draw with Russia were taken by Kane, the Tottenham striker who scored 27 goals in the most recent season.

Former captain Alan Shearer compared the tactic to Lewis Hamilton being asked to change his own tyres, while fans questioned why the likes of Adam Lallana and Wayne Rooney had not been assigned the role by boss Roy Hodgson.

Kane’s corners vs Russia

1 – Overhit. Dele Alli retrieved it on other side of pitch.
2 – Found. Smalling. Defender heads over from penalty spot.  His best of the night.
3 – Cleared at the near post.
4 – Cleared again at near post.
5 – Overhit. Russia clear their lines.
6 – Short to Lallana. Kane receives the ball back but his cross just evaded Cahill.

Has Kane taken a corner before?

The short answer is yes but the longer response is yes, but rarely so. In the 2015-16 season, Kane took seven out of the 254 corners Tottenham won, just 2.75 per cent. On free-kicks, he took six out of 500, an even lower 1.2 per cent.

What are England missing out on with Kane on set-pieces?

Kane scored just one header for Spurs from 13 attempts in the 2015-16 season, although the year before he got five from 17. So he clearly has an aerial threat, but scaled that down in the most recent campaign by developing a more all-round game.

Should Rooney be given the job?

Plenty have called for Rooney to take over from Kane, especially given his drop back into midfield. However, he too is hardly in the groove of delivering set-pieces.

Rooney took only five corners for Manchester United all season, 2.19 per cent of their overall 228, while he did take slightly more free-kicks with 35 out of 428.

Kane Rooney

So who else could take them?

The most prolific set-piece taker in the England squad is James Milner, who played six minutes 38 seconds of the Russia game. He took 116 of 265 corners during the recent season for Liverpool, which was the fifth-highest total in the Premier League. Adam Lallana, who Shearer cited as an option, took 20 for the Reds.

What are the other nations doing?

Dimitri Payet took the most corners in the Premier League last season, delivering the ball 159 times. France wisely made use of his abilities, getting him to take all five of their corners in their opener with Romania.

Mesut Ozil took 144 for Arsenal but only one for Germany on Sunday, the world champions opting for another specialist in the shape of Toni Kroos.

What do the fans say?

In a Twitter poll ran by @PAdugout, 400 fans responded, with Kane getting just four per cent of votes.

Lallana was the preferred option with 48 per cent, with Rooney getting 39 and Raheem Sterling nine.

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