England boss Gareth Southgate has called for Harry Kane to receive greater protection from international referees after claiming the England captain is “kicked from pillar to post” in every game.
Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho launched an impassioned defence of Kane earlier this week in response to claims he ‘bought’ a penalty by initiating contact with Adam Lallana in Sunday’s 2-1 win over Brighton.
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Southgate has now joined Mourinho in defending the 27-year-old by insisting officials should take greater care of the striker.
“All I’ve seen in our matches with Harry [Kane] is Harry getting kicked from pillar to post and not really protected on the field,” Southgate said of the Tottenham striker.
“I can only speak about the games with us, through the World Cup and beyond the World Cup, every time we play he seems to be a target for opposition defenders and opposition players seem to get away with a hell of a lot against him, so I would welcome a bit more protection for Harry in terms of how that looks during the games, frankly.”
Southgate was speaking after naming his latest 29-man squad for England’s forthcoming triple-header, starting with a friendly against the Republic of Ireland next Thursday, before two Nations League games in Belgium and at home to Iceland.
Manchester City midfielder Phil Foden was recalled for the first time since September after being sent home from the camp in disgrace alongside Manchester United’s Mason Greenwood.
Foden and Greenwood broke coronavirus protocols by inviting two Icelandic women into the England team hotel in Reykjavik.
Both players were left out last month but while Foden has been included, Greenwood was not following conversations between Southgate and United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjær.
“They don’t come as a pair, they are individual players with their own strengths and individual talents. We are looking at the balance of the squad positionally firstly,” Southgate said.
“Phil has had a lot of football with his club most recently and Mason has had less game time with United.
“I have had a good chat with Ole [Gunnar Solskjær] about his development and I feel it is better for him to stay at the club at the moment, to develop over the next few months.
“But they are both available, there was no carry over from September, that is done. Both are available for selection and are going to be very good players.”
Chelsea’s Reece James retained his place despite being sent off against Belgium, meaning he is only eligible for the friendly against Ireland — a match Southgate expects James to start.
Southgate named a total of eight players who could play at full-back — Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ben Chilwell, James, Ainsley-Maitland-Niles, Bukayo Saka, Kieran Trippier and Kyle Walker — but elsewhere there was no place for Leicester City’s Harvey Barnes, who made his debut in last month’s 3-0 win over Wales.
Goalkeepers: Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Burnley), Dean Henderson (Manchester United)
Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Ben Chilwell (Chelsea), Conor Coady (Wolves), Eric Dier (Tottenham), Joe Gomez (Liverpool), Reece James (Chelsea) Michael Keane (Everton), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Ainsley Maitland-Niles (Arsenal), Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Kieran Trippier (Atletico Madrid), Kyle Walker (Manchester City)
Midfielders: Phil Foden (Manchester City) Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Jack Grealish (Aston Villa), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Declan Rice (West Ham), James Ward-Prowse (Southampton), Harry Winks (Tottenham)
Forwards: Tammy Abraham (Chelsea), Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton), Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)