England captain Harry Kane hits back at Euro 2024 criticism as Cody Gakpo in his sights | Football | Sport


England captain Harry Kane has shrugged off his Euro 2024 critics ahead of Wednesday’s semi-final against the Netherlands, insisting he’s happy with how his tournament has gone so far. Kane has scored just two goals in five games in Germany but is hunting down Cody Gakpo, the joint-leader of the race for the Golden Boot, with three.

The 30-year-old has been among the England players who have struggled to find their best form throughout an underwhelming Euro 2024 campaign.

But Gareth Southgate’s side have reached the semi-finals for the third time in four tournaments and are eyeing a second successive Euros final.

Kane scored England’s opener in their 1-1 draw against Denmark in Group C before heading in an extra-time winner against Slovakia in the last 16.

He trails the Netherlands’ Gakpo, Georgia’s Georges Mikautadze, Germany’s Jamal Musiala, Slovakia’s Ivan Schranz and Spain’s Dani Olmo by one goal in the top scorer rankings.

But the Bayern Munich striker is no stranger to doubts over his contribution at major tournaments, aiming the focus on the other qualities he brings to England.

“If you look over the last couple of major tournaments, there’s always been, at some stage, question marks over my fitness or my form,” Kane explained on Tuesday.

“But I felt like I had a good preparation going into it, and I feel like I’m getting better and sharper as the games go along.

“I’ll always be judged on goals but my role isn’t just scoring goals. My role is a lot of work defensively, a lot of work without the ball, a lot of work in leadership.”

Kane also rejected claims that he had produced a below-par tournament, stressing he was content with his exploits over the last two weeks.

He added: “If you had spoken to me before the tournament and [said] I’d have a couple of goals and be in a semi-final, I’d have bitten your hand off.

“So, there is a lot of perspective. Hopefully, I score a couple of goals [against the Netherlands] and you are looking at it in a totally different way.

“[If] you are top goalscorer and you are through to a final, it’s a totally different perspective. I can only do my talking on the pitch, and hopefully, I can do that tomorrow.”

England will be competing in their first-ever final off home soil if they defeat the Netherlands at Dortmund’s Westfalenstadion.

But, in terms of records, none will be more attractive than to end the 58 years of hurt since World Cup glory in 1966, and Kane will have to play a central role.

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