England manager Gareth Southgate insisted that Harry Kane put in a magnificent display against Croatia, even if he had few chances to score.
The Three Lions got their Euro 2020 campaign off to a flying start with a 1-0 win on Sunday. Over 20,000 fans were at Wembley as they won their opening match at a European Championships for the first time. Raheem Sterling also made history, with his winner his first tournament goal.
Pundits Alan Shearer, Frank Lampard and Rio Ferdinand had their say on BBC Sport‘s coverage.
While Kalvin Phillips earned rave reviews, though, Shearer picked out Kane’s display as a worry.
The Tottenham striker struggled to get into the game. What’s more, he missed his only big chance, going over from close range from Phil Foden’s cross.
Speaking via Goal at his post-match press conference, though, Southgate piled praise on his country’s captain.
“I think he led the line really well,” the manager said.”It was a game where he had to take a lot of physical buffeting.
“A lot of the game for him today was to link and create spaces, which he did for the goal, to let others play. There are days when chances will fall to him but today he was really tightly marked by their team.
“They know what a threat he is, [and they] crowded [him] out.
“[I’ve] not seen the chance at far post yet, to see how good that was. But he brings so much more to our team than the goals.”
England could have taken the lead early on when Foden hit the post. Indeed, the effort marked the start of a blistering opening 10 minutes from the hosts.
After the game entered a lull for the rest of the first half, Sterling’s goal made Wembley erupt.
Southgate explains Sterling, England decision
Sterling was the selection which caused debate, with Jack Grealish missing out after his fantastic displays in warm-up games.
In fact, Sterling faced criticism given his slow end to the season for Manchester City.
But Southgate praised the winger, while also piling the praise on Leeds midfielder Phillips.