Harry Kane admits England 'not sure' over pressing roles after latest concerning display at Euro 2024

Harry Kane admits England 'not sure' over pressing roles after latest concerning display at Euro 2024

Harry Kane admitted England were "not sure" how to press and says they are "struggling with and without the ball" after Gareth Southgate's side slumped to a disappointing 1-1 draw with Denmark in Frankfurt.

Kane's 64th goal in an England shirt was cancelled out by Morten Hjulmand's magnificent strike before the interval, as England struggled to control the game for the second match running at Euro 2024.

The match followed a similar pattern to the 1-0 win over Serbia in Gelsenkirchen on Sunday, with England seeming to drop deeper after taking the lead.

Kane's lack of pressing from the front was singled out for criticism by the BBC's pundits at half-time and the captain afterwards admitted England did not know how they were supposed to pressurise Denmark's deep midfield two of Hjulmand and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.

"It’s not just when we score that [we drop deep]," Kane, who was replaced by Ollie Watkins in the 70th-minute, told broadcasters. "It’s something we need to get better at. In general, when the teams drop a few players deeper we’re not sure how to the get the pressure on and who’s supposed to be going.

"In the second half we tried to change it a bit with me and Jude [Bellingham] playing in front of their two midfielders and then trying to get up. But it was difficult: credit to Denmark, they’re a really good side and they caused us some threats.

"We’re struggling with and without the ball. The pressing in both games hasn’t been quite right, and with the ball we haven’t been good enough – that’s from top to bottom, from me to Picks. Everyone's dropping below their level in terms of retaining the ball and playing under pressure. It was tough out there with the heat and the pitch. It wasn’t our greatest game but we got away with a draw."

Gareth Southgate’s side have not yet impressed at Euro 2024 (REUTERS)
Gareth Southgate’s side have not yet impressed at Euro 2024 (REUTERS)

The result means England have effectively qualified for the last-16 and they remain well-placed to win the group ahead of Tuesday's meeting with Slovenia in Cologne.

Kane pointed out that England drew 0-0 with Scotland in a flat performance in their second group game of Euro 2020, when they went on to reach the final.

"There’s no easy games at major tournaments and I think that’s being shown," he said.

"There are levels we can reach, with and without the ball, but it’s a sign of a good team that you can get results when you’re not playing well.

"We’re top of the group and we’ve all but qualified. I know there’ll be loads of noise and a bit of disappointment at home, but we experienced this when we drew with Scotland in the last Euros. It’s a time to stay calm, reflect and try to improve. Step by step, we’ll get there."

Southgate acknowledged that England lacked intensity off the ball but believes they do not have the personnel or fitness up front to press high up the pitch.

"We pressed slightly differently, which meant that [Phil] Foden was starting a little bit more in field," the manager said.

“But our press wasn't intense enough and it meant that our backline had a problem with the players dropping either side of our pivots. So, that's something that has to be better. We know with the profile of players that we've got, we don't feel the way to press is really high up the pitch.

“I don't think that's the physical level of the team at the moment either. But we've got to find a way of being more compact and more difficult to play against than we found in the last three halves of football.”