Nations League: Harry Kane 'fit and available' to face Denmark, says England boss Gareth Southgate



Harry Kane of England warms up during the UEFA Nations League group stage match between England and Belgium at Wembley Stadium on October 11, 2020 in London, England.

Gareth Southgate declared Harry Kane is in perfect condition to play for England against Denmark as he insisted he would never take a risk with the fitness of any of his charges and that no one has been injured because he has overworked them.

The England captain missed Thursday’s win over Wales and only came on for the final 24 minutes of Sunday’s 2-1 victory against Belgium after suffering from a muscle problem.

But while Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho had gone public before the international break with his wish for England to use Kane sparingly, Southgate played down talk of a club-versus-country row as he nevertheless defended his right to select the striker at Wembley tonight.

“I don’t really understand the story because he has been fit since the end of last week,” Southgate said. “Where that is coming from is not the conversations we have been having medically with Spurs and is not affecting us in the camp. He would have started the last game but hadn’t had enough training time. He is fit and available.

“He hasn’t had an injury. He was feeling delayed muscle soreness which can happen to athletes. We don’t risk players. I have been a player. My priority has always been the welfare of players.

“We have never lost a player through an error in our training loading. We pride ourselves on looking after our players. Our issue on Sunday with Harry was if he could perform at the highest level. Now he has a couple more days training it is not even an issue.”

Kane is likely to replace Dominic Calvert-Lewin in attack as Southgate challenged his young team to build on their victory against the world’s top-ranked side, rather than repeating last month’s stalemate with Denmark.

“The result on Sunday was only really good if we get a win against Denmark,” he said. “To be a top team we have to do that consistently. This team has some experience but for Marcus [Rashford] at 23, Dominic Calvert-Lewin at 23, Declan Rice at 21, Trent [Alexander-Arnold] at 22 and Mason [Mount] at 21, it was a really brilliant experience.”

Southgate will be forced into a further change after both the injured Ben Chilwell and Kieran Trippier were ruled out, leaving Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Bukayo Saka the likeliest choices at left wing-back.

Trippier, who captained England against Wales, left the squad to attend an English Football Association hearing about betting charges relating to his 2019 move to Atletico Madrid. The defender could be banned for up to six months.

“It's not something that's in my control,” Southgate said. “This is another distraction, but I've got to plough on through. It is not ideal but we are used to dealing with these things.

“It is so hard to have a squad without withdrawals and injuries. The number of matches everyone has is adding to it. Last month we were without Marcus, Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson. Even on Sunday we start without Harry and Raheem [Sterling]. We have to be adaptable.”

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