Mauricio Pochettino, the former manager of Tottenham, is unconcerned about Harry Kane’s lack of goals at the World Cup because he thinks the striker’s talent for creativity can help England advance in Qatar.
Kane has yet to score at the tournament, with Marcus Rashford and Bukayo Saka serving as the Three Lions’ primary goal threat from wide positions despite England scoring nine goals in three Group B games.
However, Kane has racked up three assists during the competition, making history as the first England player to do so at a single World Cup since David Beckham in 2002.
When asked about Kane’s performance by Sky Sports, Pochettino emphasised the England captain’s inventiveness and backed him to rediscover his shooting form in the knockout rounds.
“I think Harry can provide good assists and score goals,” Pochettino said. “I would rather Kane scores the decisive goals, rather than in a result where England can beat the opponent by five or six.
“Harry’s focus is great, he’s one of the best strikers in the world and I’m sure that he’s going to score.
“He’s capable of everything. In my second conversation with him, I said ‘you could play centre-back, full-back, midfielder… out wide.’
“Goalkeeper? No, once, I remember in a Europa League game [for Spurs against Asteras Tripolis in 2014], he was a disaster in goal and made a mistake. The rest of the positions, yes.
“Harry Kane is a player who is so clever, now he reads the game and knows when the game needs him to drop, or when it needs him to be up front. He’s a player that can do everything.”
After defeating Wales 3-0 on Tuesday, England was able to top their World Cup group for the first time since 2006. According to Pochettino, no team will look forward to taking on the Three Lions.
When asked if England would be concerned about playing either pre-tournament favourites Brazil or holders France, he responded, “For France, it’s no different.
“Their team can be in trouble if they face England also. England have the quality to be one of the national teams with the possibility to win, I saw a really, really good performance last night.
“The quality is there. I really believe that, this year, England can fight to try to lift the World Cup.”
On Sunday, England and Senegal will play for a spot in the World Cup quarterfinals. The Three Lions have never lost in seven previous encounters with African countries in the competition (W4 D3), defeating Cameroon in their lone previous such match in the knockout stages, in 1990, following extra time.