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Harry Kane selected for this summer's U-21 tournament, while big club stars weasel out

While the big club stars get to relax in Ibiza, Harry Kane's stuck spending his summer embarrassing Europe's children.

Michael Steele/Getty Images

Gareth Southgate has announced his 27-man long list for this summer's Under-21 European Championship, and four Spurs players have been included. Congratulations to Eric Dier, Tom Carroll, and Alex Pritchard who will surely benefit from the chance to play in the tournament this summer and the opportunity to show Roy Hodgson and Mauricio Pochettino just what they can do.

However, the benefits for the fourth member of the Spurs contingent are a little more questionable. That man is none other than the one and only Harry Kane. Harry Kane, the Premier League's Young Player of the Year, top scoring English striker and golden boot contender, and a man who basically single-handedly destroyed the Premier League Champions one fateful day in January. For Harry Kane, it's hard to see what exactly he'll get out of beating up on children.

As a developmental tournament, England would be much better served by giving guys without Kane's top level experience the chance to shine. Kane is already a nailed on member of the senior squad, and nothing he does in this tournament will change that. If the purpose of a U-21 side is to develop future contributors for the senior national team, guys like Patrick Bamford could really benefit from the minutes.

On the flip side, if the goal is to win the tournament at all costs, Kane's inclusion makes a little more sense. But what must then be questioned is the absence of so many other eligible England stars. Raheem Sterling, Luke Shaw, Phil Jones, Jack Wilshere, Ross Barkley, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are all eligible for the tournament. If Southgate is trying to win the thing, these guys would be incredibly valuable this summer. Of those absentees, Luke Shaw was all set to be included until Southgate had "discussions with Louis van Gaal" where it was made clear that he "should not be selected." (Southgate claims its due to a recently sustained concussion, which marks the first time in football history anyone has cared about a concussion).

As for Kane, he at least seems thrilled to be a part of it. But young athletes don't always know what's best for them. Player fatigue and burnout is a real problem, and as much as young Harry might love chasing the ball around the pitch all summer, after his first full season in the Premier League what Kane probably needs more than anything is rest.

Pochettino has already complained about his striker's potential selection, and threatened to bench him at the beginning of the season if he is not fully rested and ready to go. It feels a bit like the big clubs have managed to throw their weight around and protect their players from needless matches when they should be resting, while Spurs lack the cache to do the same.

To be fair, some of these big clubs may be doing their players a disservice. If anyone needed this summer to get their stuttering career back on track and prove that he still has what it takes for club and country, it's the former golden boy of English football, a man whose entire professional career has produced fewer goals than Paulinho managed last season. Come on Arsene, it's not like Jack Wilshere has anything better to do in June.