No Kane, No Gain
Paddy Power's Euro 2016 ambassador Teddy Sheringham on how Harry Kane can fire England to the latter stages of Euro 2016
It makes more sense to play Harry Kane with Wayne Rooney in behind and leave Jamie Vardy on the bench for England. That’s not the Tottenham bias in me either – Kane has more to his game than Vardy. I like to have players that go in different areas. Presuming that Roy Hodgson is going to play a 4-4-1-1 or a 4-3-3 formation with England, you need an out-and-out striker. If you play two players up front who play the same way they’re going to be taking up the same areas of the pitch. If you assess everything that Kane and Vardy can both do – they can both run the channels, they can both score from long distance, and they both get goals with their right foot. However Kane is better on his left foot, Kane is better in the air, and Kane is better at receiving the ball. Vardy’s pace is probably exceptional and that makes him different, but Kane has something more to his game and at international level you need that.
The stand-out part of Kane’s season is that after scoring 21 Premier League goals for Tottenham last year everybody wrote him off as a one-season wonder. People wrote me off all my career – they said I was too slow to move to the next level. That was my motivation. At every level I played at, I used that to drive me on. Kane’s attitude is right. He knows he can play the game and he knows he can score goals. The motivation is to silence the critics who said you couldn’t. He had a stuttering start and didn’t score in Spurs’ opening six league games, but he’s come to the fore and scored 25 times to win the Golden Boot – The first Englishman since Kevin Phillips did it in 1999/00 and the first Tottenham player since…me!
It’s great to see him finding the onion bag. He’s an unselfish player in many ways, but I like his selfishness though – and once he sees the target from 30 yards out, at any angle, he thinks he can score. The goal in the North London derby with Arsenal in March that put Tottenham ahead summed him up – picking the ball up near the corner flag he cut towards the area and curled it into the top corner beyond David Ospina. Not everyone can do that.
Can Kane challenge for the Golden Boot at Euro 2016? Yeah, of course he can. If he hits a run of form like he did in the league then absolutely. If he scores a couple of goals in the group stage and England get a nice draw in the Round of 16 then he’ll be bang in the mix. You need everyone confident and in-form once you hit the knock-out stages, particularly your strikers, as that is when it all gets a bit tense. Give either Kane or Vardy half a chance at the moment and they will take it.
Jamie Vardy’s goal for England against Germany in March was pure instinct and confidence. That kind of chance probably comes along once every six years. You have to know you can do, have the instinct to do it, and then have the confidence to pull it off. You need a bit of luck along the way as it misses a few defenders and catches the goalkeeper out, but it was a fantastic finish. You could look daft attempting that and getting it wrong, but when you’re full of confidence it doesn’t matter because you know you’ll be on the end of the next chance anyway.
Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy had a bit of back-and-forth over social media in the Premier League run-in but it’s nothing serious for England fans if the two players do line up together. That being said you don’t necessarily need to get on with someone off the pitch to make it work on the pitch. While Andy Cole and I didn’t get on off the field, our styles complimented each other quite nicely and that’s all that mattered on the football pitch. You don’t have to be best buddies and talk to each other all the time to make it work. We didn’t get on but we didn’t get in each other’s way either. When we played together it was good for the team and that’s all that matters.
Football is about making the right decisions at the right times and finishing your chances. It’s a fantastic asset for England to go into a major tournament with two strikers who are in flying form.