Harry Kane has been in the news a bit this past week for the wrong reasons. The Tottenham Hotspur striker and England captain has been with the Three Lions during the international break after a brutal stretch of matches with Spurs at the beginning of the season, but there have been concerns about his fitness. He missed the friendly match against Wales last week and there were reports swirling that he picked up an injury in training.
However, he was named to the bench in England’s Nations League win over Belgium this weekend and played about 25 minutes of action as a substitute for Dominic Calvert-Lewin. So what gives? England boss Gareth Southgate said that Kane’s injury wasn’t really an injury at all — it was “muscle fatigue,” and that Kane would likely feature more in Wednesday’s match against Denmark.
“We’re hoping that Harry, that progression tonight, I think he’ll get more confidence from that so we’ll have to assess both him and Jordan [Henderson]. But certainly Harry should be able to play more minutes.
“[Harry’s] had a strange training week, we gave him a couple days recovery and he started training on Wednesday. He had a bit of cramp, so he’s had muscle fatigue and missed most of the week’s training. He got a little more confident towards the end of the week but hasn’t done enough to start. So he’s not injured, perhaps [he can feature] later in the game.”
So that’s great that Kane’s not seriously injured. It is absolutely a concern (and completely understandable) however, that he’s suffering from muscle fatigue after playing a grueling slate of Spurs matches only to head into an international break with three England matches in what was supposed to be his “rest.”
However, it does seem clear that Southgate is not abusing Kane’s body during this time. 25 minutes against Belgium isn’t bad, and it sounds like Kane’s going to start on the bench against Denmark as well. That’s fine. So long as Kane doesn’t return to Tottenham completely knackered with a big London derby coming up against West Ham, then we should probably consider this international break a success. It’s not a week off of action, but considering the circumstances this may be about as good as we can hope for.
England hosts Denmark in the Nations League this Wednesday, with the match kicking off at 2:45 p.m. ET / 7:45 p.m. BST.