Gareth Southgate said that England captain Harry Kane remains “very positive” about playing for Tottenham Hotspur and is convinced that any talk over his future in north London will not prove a distraction during this summer’s European Championship.
Kane, who scored and provided an assist for Mason Mount in the 2-0 win away to Albania on Sunday evening, has played down suggestions that he is frustrated by a lack of silverware at Spurs.
The 27-year-old is under contract until the day after his 31st birthday, while the potential buyers’ market for him in the summer has been suppressed by the game’s pandemic-inflicted financial crisis.
Speaking ahead of tomorrow night’s World Cup qualifier against Poland, Southgate said: “I had a chat with him, as I do all the players, when he came into the camp. He’s very positive about the club. They are only a couple of points off the Champions League positions, in the League Cup final.
“You could see his focus in the game the other day – he scored a fantastic goal and had an excellent assist. He’s a fantastic professional whose focus is always on the next training session and match. He can put anything like that to one side.”
Asked a follow up question over whether he feels Kane needs to win silverware to be truly considered a great player, Southgate toed a diplomatic line because four members of his squad play for Manchester City, Spurs’ opponents in next month’s Carabao Cup final.
The England manager did, however, point out that his skipper has regularly been in the latter stages of major competitions.
“Harry is a highly motivated player and all players want to win things,” Southgate added. “He’s got an opportunity with his club in the next few weeks to do that. I’ve got four players in the other [Manchester City] dressing room as well so can’t stress a preference for that.
“He’s been in a Champions League final with Tottenham, a second League Cup final coming up. For certain those are the occasions you want to be involved in, you want to be in major tournaments, domestic cups and important league matches.”
Poland arrive in London without a number of players including star striker Robert Lewandowski, who is injured. A couple of other players have tested positive for coronavirus but Southgate said his camp will do all they can to limit the risks of exposure.
“We have to rely on the processes,” he said. “It’s the same as the league in that we’re tested two days before the game. Same criteria throughout the season. There’s always an element of risk. We can’t eliminate the risks but our protocols have been strict and, fortunately, we’ve managed to stay clear of issues to this point. There’s always an element of good fortune with that but fingers crossed we’ve come through with no problem.”