Gareth Southgate hails ‘phenomenal professional’ Harry Kane as England manager weighs up fresh changes

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Gareth Southgate hails ‘phenomenal professional’ Harry Kane as England manager weighs up fresh changes
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Gareth Southgate believes Harry Kane has the fitness to start England’s next two games, but he may give him a rest so he can run the rule over Tammy Abraham.

Kane has started and completed both of England’s Nations League game this month and he is hungry to play the next two as he chases down Wayne Rooney’s goal record.

Kane scored against Germany on Tuesday night to earn England a 1-1 draw and take his tally for the Three Lions to 50, which is three off Rooney’s all-time record of 53.

England face Italy on Saturday before Hungary on Tuesday and Kane has publicly declared his desire to play both games.

Southgate has not ruled out that possibility, praising Kane’s natural fitness, but he has hinted that Roma striker Abraham will get a chance to impress.

“Well [Luka] Modric wasn’t far off that and he’s 36,” said Southgate, when quizzed about the fact Germany was Kane’s 60th game this season for England and Tottenham.

“So what I would say is that we’ve clearly got to look after the welfare of the players.

“That’s part of what we were doing on Saturday, with a view to having the freshness we were going to need tonight to compete. But Harry is also a phenomenal professional the way he looks after himself.

“I’m not saying he’s going to get his desire to start all four games by the way, because there’s also Tammy that we want to see perform as well. But he would get himself there, that’s for sure.”

Southgate is expected to make changes to his side for Saturday’s game at Molineux against Italy, which is another Nations League clash.

Jack Grealish will be hoping to start and so will Jarrod Bowen, with the pair impressing off the bench against Germany.

Reece James should get a start at full-back, while in the heart of defence Fikayo Tomori and Marc Guehi are hoping to play too. Conor Gallagher could get a rare start in midfield.

“I think we will [make changes] because I think you have seen right across Europe – France changed 10, Spain changed eight, Portugal changed seven,” Southgate added.

“So this is quite a unique set of games where teams are thinking about player welfare to a degree, freshness, but also they are preparing for a World Cup because they know what’s coming and what they haven’t got in terms of friendlies ahead of the tournament.

“So strategically it’s a bit of a unique situation and I think you are seeing it right across Europe.”

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