If Harry Kane is out, who should England turn to against USA? CHRIS SUTTON assesses Plan B options
If Harry Kane is lost, who should England turn to against the USA? CHRIS SUTTON discusses the four Plan B options Gareth Southgate will be considering, with Callum Wilson, Phil Foden and Marcus Rashford waiting to enter
- Harry Kane faces a race against time to be fit for England’s clash with the USA.
- The Three Lions captain suffered an ankle injury in Monday’s win over Iran
- Sportsmail’s Chris Sutton has looked at England’s Plan B options in his absence
- Callum Wilson is the most obvious candidate to replace Kane in attack
- But Marcus Rashford, Phil Foden and Raheem Sterling could also play center back.
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England boss Gareth Southgate was left sweating over captain Harry Kane’s fitness ahead of Friday’s clash with the USA.
While initial scans appear to suggest he suffered no major ankle damage in Monday’s opening World Cup win over Iran, Kane faces a race against time to be fit for England’s second outing.
Southgate now has a big decision to make ahead of Friday’s game. Either he trusts the medical team’s assessment of him and deploys Kane as his attacking focal point once again, or errs on the side of caution and rests his star striker for the most crucial nights.
England captain Harry Kane faces a race against time to be fit for Friday’s clash with the USA.
Kane suffered an ankle injury in England’s opening World Cup victory against Iran on Monday.
So if he chooses the latter option, who can England turn to in Kane’s absence?
sports mail‘yes CHRIS SUTTON reviewed Southgate’s four Plan B options in attacking the US and assessed which one would be most effective on Friday night.
The most obvious solution for Gareth Southgate would be to bring Callum Wilson upstairs.
Wilson was included in Southgate’s squad as a backup option for Kane
Front for front. There have been a few England games where Harry Kane didn’t start and Gareth Southgate generally left with a similar replacement.
Against Italy, Tammy Abraham took her place. Against Ivory Coast, it was Ollie Watkins. Against Andorra, it was Patrick Bamford. None of them are in this World Cup, but Callum Wilson is, and they brought him to Qatar so he could play on this very stage.
If Kane isn’t in shape, Wilson is there to fill him in. They are different players, obviously – Kane is almost irreplaceable.
But Wilson is quick and physical and has good scoring instincts. He would be the obvious choice.
Marcus Rashford would also be capable of operating in a more central attacking role.
When Marcus Rashford came on against Iran he was used in a wide role and scored after a nice dismissal from Kane. That will have done wonders for Rashford’s confidence.
He has been used as a center forward for Manchester United, but the 25-year-old has said that playing on the left is his favorite position. However, Rashford will do whatever Southgate asks of him.
Hell, the England manager could ask me to hand out the half-time oranges and I would.
Rashford is fast. If the US speeds up the field, as he did in the first half against Wales, his pace could come in handy. Rashford isn’t a bad option, but Wilson is the most likely pick.
Rashford is quick and that pace could be useful against the US if they push high up the field.
Phil Foden has been used as a false nine by Man City on occasion and could fit in there too.
Southgate is lucky to have players who are versatile, giving him options if he wants to go in a different direction than a traditional centre-forward.
We’ve seen Phil Foden used as a false nine for Manchester City in the days before Erling Haaland, acting as a creative link between Jack Grealish and Riyad Mahrez. Kane likes to get involved in the preparation and Foden is not bad at it.
He’s tidy, he’s mobile, he knows when to drop deep and can make killer runs behind the opposition’s back line.
But it would be asking too much of Foden to do this in a World Cup match. This would be a total wild card for England.
But it would be too much to ask of the youngster to play this role in a World Cup match.
Raheem Sterling could take a more central position with City teammate Foden on the right.
When Kane didn’t start in a 3-0 win over the Ivory Coast in March, Raheem Sterling acted as captain, filling central positions near Watkins, assisting one and scoring another. Like Foden, he has acted as a false nine in the past for Manchester City, so he wouldn’t be totally unfamiliar with him.
Sterling’s form at Chelsea hasn’t been the best, but he had a good game against Iran and should start against the USA. If used as a false nine, incredible as that decision is, Foden could fill the void on the left flank.
But I can’t shake the feeling that Wilson would feel undervalued watching these three forwards when he’s at this World Cup to be Kane’s Plan B.