Manchester United, back in the summer transfer window, saw the arrival of a new striker as an added bonus. Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane were always the priority, while the chance to bring Cristiano Ronaldo back was too good to turn down. And their bold decision not to get involved in the Harry Kane saga looks vindicated after England’s 1-1 draw with Hungary on Tuesday night.
England went into their match against Hungary as favourites to emerge victorious.
However, they had to rely on John Stones to earn a point after Roland Sallai had put the visitors ahead from the penalty spot.
It was a frustrating night for Gareth Southgate, with his Three Lions side dropping points for just the second time in qualifying.
And it was another bad day at the office for Kane, who looked the odd man out as the hosts battled their way to a draw.
In recent years, he’s arguably been the best striker in the Premier League.
Kane has been a consistent performer for Tottenham, no matter the circumstances the club have found themselves in.
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But, for the first time, he’s going through a rough patch.
The 28-year-old has failed to score or assist from six Premier League matches this season and, against Hungary, he looked lost.
It was damning that, with England needing a goal, Southgate decided to hook his star striker – in a moment that shocked the Wembley crowd.
And, while all this is going on, United’s decision not to get involved in the Kane transfer saga back in the summer looks the right call.
It isn’t that the Tottenham star isn’t committed. He is.
Kane has always been professional so, instead, it currently looks a case that he’s going through a bad spell. Luck, perhaps, isn’t going his way.
But had United signed this version of the Tottenham striker, he’d be facing an even bigger challenge to get back to his best.
Playing for the Red Devils brings a unique pressure. Even world superstars like Alexis Sanchez and Angel Di Maria couldn’t live up to expectations during their failed stints at Old Trafford.
And had Kane joined United for huge money, the £150million Tottenham wanted, he’d have had to produce the goods right away.
Instead, the Red Devils never really entertained the idea.
They did lodge an enquiry but were told Kane wasn’t for sale. And they listened, having been scarred from negotiations with Spurs supremo Daniel Levy in the past.
As mentioned above, United instead saw the signing of Ronaldo as a better deal.
And they’ve been vindicated there, with the Portugal international scoring five goals since returning from Juventus.
When Kane was being linked with Manchester City, United could have been forgiven for eyeing a hijack.
But, instead, they kept their heads. And with Kane currently down in the dumps, not getting involved looks an even shrewder move.
Meanwhile, United legend Roy Keane thinks the Tottenham striker will bounce back from his recent woes.
He said on Tuesday night: “For England it’s not a problem.
“He’s had his problems at club level and the team aren’t great recently, Tottenham.
“But I can’t believe we’re going to be standing here doubting Harry Kane, are we?
“I don’t think we’re doubting him.
“I think he’ll be fine. He’ll be glad to come away with England.
“Every time you come away for international football, not everyone is going to have a spring in their step. Players are going to have issues at club level, that goes on for every national team.
“We just know Kane, if he gets chances he’ll score goals.”