Jose Mourinho defends Harry Kane and credits Spurs man for England’s winning goal


The forward had a quiet game by his usual standards against Croatia (Picture: Getty)

Jose Mourinho has defended Harry Kane’s performance against Croatia in England’s Euro 2020 opener on Sunday and says the Tottenham forward played a pivotal role in the winning goal.

The Three Lions made the perfect start to their European Championship campaign, beating old foes Croatia 1-0 at Wembley thanks to a second-half strike from local boy Raheem Sterling.

Kane did not have his best game, though, touching the ball just 26 times – the lowest of any starter – while he spurned his only effort on goal.

Kane snatched at his only chance in the game, scuffing his effort (Picture: Getty)

Nevertheless, Mourinho – who managed Kane at Spurs before being sacked – felt the striker led the line well and it was his movement which opened up space for Sterling to score.

‘I think Harry did half of the job without touching the ball. This kind of striker, without touching the ball, they create problems for a defender,’ Mourinho told talkSPORT.

‘What happened to Vida was instead of giving cover to the position of Raheem’s run, he was chasing Harry’s movement.

‘So Harry without touching the ball he did half of the job.

‘And of course Kalvin Phillips made the run, he was composed, he saw Harry’s movement, he didn’t pass the ball to Harry and then saw the space and played that ball.’

He continued: ‘There are the strikers that, when they don’t score, they still play. And Harry is one of these strikers.

‘It’s Harry, it’s [Karim] Benzema, it’s this kind of striker that they could be a striker, they could be a number 10, they could even be a midfield player.

Kane’s run opened up space for Sterling to burst into (Picture: Reuters)

‘Look a little bit like Wayne Rooney, he was a striker, then he moved to be a number 10, and then in some periods he was even a midfield player.

‘These guys, they have more than the finishing skills, more than the appetite just to score goals.

‘And that movement shows everything. Without touching the ball he opened the gap and Sterling made the run, like Son at Tottenham did that run so many times.’


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