Kane and Winks pull out of England squad for Germany and Brazil friendlies

Harry Kane has withdrawn from the England squad - Action Plus
Harry Kane has withdrawn from the England squad - Action Plus

Gareth Southgate’s plans for England’s prestige friendlies against Germany and Brazil have suffered a severe blow by the withdrawal of Harry Kane and Harry Winks from his squad.

Both players are vital to Southgate’s team plans, as the England managers switches to a 3-4-3 or 3-5-2 formation and begins in earnest his preparations for next summer’s World Cup. He has called up West Brom's Jake Livermore to strengthen his midfield options.

Southgate had already lost a third Tottenham Hotspur player, Dele Alli, from his squad after he pulled out with a hamstring injury which prevented him playing against Crystal Palace on Sunday.

During that Premier League match Kane suffered a kick on his leg and underwent a scan on Monday and Spurs warned they did not want any risks taken with their striker who had a hamstring problem last week.

Winks turned his ankle against Palace and also underwent a scan on Monday. Neither player reported for England duty at St George’s Park and Southgate was also waiting on the fitness of Jordan Henderson and Gary Cahill who, it is hoped, will join up with the rest of the squad later this week.

Harry Winks - Credit:  Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine
Harry Winks impressed on his England debut but misses the two prestige friendliesCredit: Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine

Both may also miss out and Southgate has called up defender Michael Keane into his squad after he proved his fitness when he played for Everton against Watford on Sunday having recovered from a leg infection.

The problem for Southgate is that having omitted and criticised a number of senior players from his original 25-man squad, including Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Daniel Sturridge and Chris Smalling, it is now difficult for him to call them up so quickly as replacements.

Kane’s withdrawal may offer a chance for Tammy Abraham, who has earned his first call-up. The 20-year-old Swansea City striker, on loan from Chelsea, said his involvement in the squad showed his commitment to England, having had an approach to play for Nigeria, where both his parents were born.

“I see myself as being a long-term England player,” the Under-21 international said. “I was pretty set on England and playing in the Premier League meant it would be nice to play in the England team as well.”

In September, Amaju Pinnick, the president of the Nigerian Football Federation, claimed he was hopeful of persuading the 19-year-old to switch allegiance, despite him representing England at youth levels, due to a friendship with Abraham’s father.

“It was flattering [to be asked by Nigeria], but my main focus was here,” Abraham said. “It was nice to know I was doing something right and going in the right direction. They tried to [roll out the red carpet], but, like I said, the main focus was England.

“Tournament football [for the England Under-21s] is different to playing in the league and it is nice to have that behind me and the friendlies against Germany and Brazil will be a good learning curve.”

Asked whether he was capable of replacing Kane, Abraham added: “I feel like I’m ready but it won’t be easy, I will have to keep proving to the manager why he picked me and working as hard as I can.”

England play Germany on Friday and Brazil next Tuesday, both at Wembley.