Gary Lineker doubles down on Harry Kane criticism and offers Gareth Southgate theory

Gary Lineker has doubled down on his criticisms of Harry Kane after England narrowly scraped a 1-1 draw with Denmark.

While the Three Lions would start the game in promising fashion - with Kane himself opening the scoring with a cool finish from six yards in the 18th minute - the side appeared to switch to cruise control thereafter. And complacency would come back to bite Gareth Southgate's side shortly afterwards, with Morten Hjulmand capitalising on a sloppy pass deep in England's own half and striking powerfully from outside the box to find the back of a raging Jordan Pickford's net 34 minutes in.

Kane would find himself switched out for Ollie Watkins with 20 minutes to go after a very much ado about nothing performance following his first-half opener. And Lineker was quick to heap on criticism towards Kane after the dismal display, taking to his The Rest Is Football podcast post-match to share his disappointment.

Speaking with co-host Micah Richards, he said: "Why do England not play the high press? They might play it for about three minutes in a game. Are they not coached to play that? You feel a little bit guilty for Harry Kane. Can you do it with Harry Kane that way? I think you can.

"You've got to say to your striker Harry - however good he is - 'You've got to buy into this Harry, you don't need to do too much but it needs to come from your forward player'. There are pros and cons to Harry and the fact is, he's an unbelievable finisher.

"And if you were 1-1 in the semi-final of the Euros and you had a man going through one on one on goal, you'd want it to be Harry Kane all day long. He's brilliant, I love him and I always have. It makes you feel a little bit guilty to be critical about him, but I watched him today and I don't think I saw a sprint and I don't know why."

When asked by Richards how he can simplify his game, Lineker added: "Stay high. Stay really high and then every now and again you give yourself a target, and then you lean into a defender one way and then you come back and make it short.

gary lineker doubles down on harry kane criticism and offers gareth southgate theory

Lineker is less than impressed with Kane

"He's never been much of a player that spins and gets behind players, but if you stay high the whole team can get higher. But also I feel for Harry because I think the tactical issues are a problem and it makes it a problem for him.

"I think when the time is so distant and plays so deep, Harry feels the need to have a connection with the whole team so he wanders back - and I understand why he does that and I wouldn't be critical of him."

It comes after Lineker urged that Southgate demands more from his captain on BBC's live coverage, citing how Kane must do better if the nation want to progress at the current tournament. Speaking after Thursday's game, the pundit said: "In all honesty, I think Harry Kane needs to do a lot better.

"I think his movement was minimal, he didn’t look to go behind and he doesn’t often, but even when he comes short, he’s just drifting short very lethargically, he’s plodding short and that’s not going to help. When you’re a striker, your two jobs are obviously score goals, which he’s brilliant at and has been all his career and he’s wonderful at that sort of thing.

"But I think he needs his manager to say ‘Right, I need a little bit more from you, Harry’. I would have expected that if I had had that kind of performance. As a striker, he’s up against three at the back so he has got to stretch that team.

"Even when he comes short, you’ve got to go that way first, to keep them up there, and then you come short so that when you’ve got the ball coming short, you don’t have to go 20 yards to go short. And he just ambles in and they (defenders) just let him go so he’s not creating space for himself for starters."

gary lineker doubles down on harry kane criticism and offers gareth southgate theory

Is Southgate at fault?

However, Lineker also theorised Southgate could be at fault for Kane's lack of pressing. During the podcast, he added: "The times in the Southgate reign that I've been impressed with England the most have been when they've played the high press. When he's done it, it's only lasted for 20 minutes, 30 minutes - maybe a half.

"But it's never happened and I don't understand why. I can't get why England play so deep, and they were stretched. And Harry just ambles back and I think you've got to say to Harry 'good as you are, you've got to be the first man of the press'. But if he's not telling him that, then you can't blame Harry Kane."

He later continued: "They're just a little bit lost tactically, and that comes from the manager I'm afraid. It really does. He has got to get England playing higher up the pitch as a unit - because at the moment they are not a unit."

Asked if Southgate's tactics come off the back of his professional career as a defender and a philosophy of "when you've got something, protect that lead", Lineker also suggested: "I think probably, I think even if it's subconsciously. I think he airs on the side of caution, I think I've heard him say many times that great expansive teams win football matches with great games - teams that win tournaments are pragmatic. I'm not sure that's the case anymore.

"It's moved on, the really good teams now press as a team - Germany, Spain. Can England do that with Harry Kane? I think you tell Harry Kane that you've got to do that." Southgate's side will be looking for a win against Slovenia in their final Group C game on Tuesday. Despite being top of their cohort with four points, England could be bitten by goal difference if results go against them on the final day of the group stages.

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