DANNY MURPHY: Harry Kane's stellar career deserves a major trophy
4th July 2021

DANNY MURPHY: Harry Kane’s stellar career deserves a major trophy… finishing as the Euro 2020 top scorer and lifting the trophy at Wembley really would silence any doubters

  • Harry Kane scored twice as England beat Ukraine 4-0 in the Euro 2020 last eight 
  • The Three Lions moved into the semi-finals via a crushing victory in Rome  
  • Lifting the Euro 2020 title would be the first major trophy of Kane’s career
  • Luke Shaw was another standout performer for the Three Lions in Rome 
  • Find out the latest Euro 2020 news including fixtures, live action and results here

Harry Kane’s problem in the group stages was that England weren’t giving him enough good service. That issue has been solved in spectacular fashion, now the world really is at his feet.

He could end this tournament with a second successive international Golden Boot and, even more importantly for him, a more than thoroughly deserved first trophy.

England started the tournament playing too safe. I never thought Kane should have been dropped because we know from experience — provide him with the ball and he will score goals.

Harry Kane added two more goals to his Euro 2020 in England’s 4-0 win over Ukraine

The Three Lions crushed their quarter-final opponents 4-0 in Rome to move into the last four

Sure enough, a great through ball from Raheem Sterling last night, and he scores. A wonderful set-play from Luke Shaw, and he scores. And he nearly got the hat-trick with an instinctive strike.

The ball went into the box more and I’ve no doubt if that continues in the next couple of games, Kane could finish the tournament as leading scorer, a repeat of what happened in Russia three years ago except on that occasion he started on fire, and then faded. It’s much better for England that it’s the other way round this time.

I know Kane might have looked a bit sluggish in the first couple of matches but you’ve got to appreciate the miles he has to do for Spurs during the season.

There is no taking Kane off with 30 minutes to go at Spurs, they can’t afford to rest him like Chelsea and Manchester City do with their best players. He’s a wonderful player and deserves to be rewarded with trophies. A striker of his talent should have had more at this stage and it would be fitting personally if he could lift the Euros.

Kane began the tournament without a goal in his first three games but now has three in two

When you think of the great strikers England have had such as Wayne Rooney, Michael Owen and Gary Lineker, and the fact that I’m sure Kane will go past all of them in terms of goals, it shows how good he is. He is judged by the highest standards, top scorer at the Euros and lifting the trophy would be a perfect retort to the doubters.

SHAW REDEMPTION

England’s five clean sheets is a record at a tournament and I’m pleased most of all for Shaw, who has done a fantastic job going forward as well as defensively after having had to overcome massive hurdle in his career.

I was 50-50 between him and Ben Chilwell starting at left back but how the Manchester United player has justified getting the nod.

Luke Shaw was another standout performer in the Three Lions’ crushing win on Saturday night

He’s made more chances than just about any England player and his delivery in Rome last night was outstanding.

You want good characters in a dressing room and what Shaw has achieved after suffering a horrific injury, being criticised by his old club manager and being ridiculed on social media for his weight and conditioning, is a fantastic example to any young player. If you get knockbacks, keep going, you can turn things around.

He’s made great progress and the club relationship he has with Harry Maguire has helped England at the back — as I am sure Kyle Walker and John Stones have done on the right-hand side.

Shaw delivered a perfect free-kick which Harry Maguire headed home just after half-time

There should also be a word about Declan Rice who has contributed massively to those clean sheets. His position is crucial in international football, Rice hasn’t tried anything flashy, just worked hard to protect his defence and you can see in the results. Opposition nil.

DENMARK NOT EASY

I covered Denmark’s win against Czech Republic and the Danes are a better outfit than Ukraine. They have better players and have more adventure in their line-up. For the first hour against Belgium in their group game, they were brilliant.

They play a 3-4-3 with two great wing backs full of energy, particularly Joakim Maehle on the left. The big conundrum for Gareth Southgate will be whether to return to the three-man defence which overcame Germany or play the extra attacker as they did with Ukraine.

The Three Lions will face high-flying Denmark in Wednesday’s semi-final at Wembley

I think England will benefit at Wembley by having the extra forward-looking midfielder rather than essentially picking seven defensive-minded players but you have to say Southgate got it right against Germany. I just feel that the Danes aren’t quite in the same league as Germany so let’s take the game to them.

TRUST IN SOUTHGATE

The start of the tournament produced lots of advice from everyone for Southgate about who he should select. But by making the right decisions every time until now, I feel there is total trust in him.

When he names the line-up against Denmark an hour before kick off, I don’t think the crowd at Wembley will be concerned about whether Phil Foden starts, or Jack Grealish, or Bukayo Saka. There will be excitement and belief in the XI, and the manager has earned that.

Gareth Southgate has made some big calls but has got every selection decision right so far

I must admit before the Germany game, I was anxious when I saw the team he picked, I though he was too negative. Against Ukraine, people were saying Grealish had to play. He didn’t and we won 4-0. Foden hasn’t played in either of the knockout games. That doesn’t mean he won’t be in the next one.

It’s Gareth’s choice and the country will back him because every decision has worked out.

IGNORE THE HYPE

The biggest danger to England would be getting carried away by being in the semi-finals and forgetting we still have some very good teams to face.

I don’t think the manager will fall into that trap or let the players do it but the fans should also be aware that if England play poorly on Wednesday, Denmark are good enough to take advantage.

The Danish back three has a lovely balance between youth and experience with Simon Kjaer, Andreas Christensen and Jannik Vestergaard.

Denmark have a strong three-man defence led by inspirational captain Simon Kjaer (right) 

I played in plenty of big games where the first goal was so important to relax the players and get you going. We got it against Ukraine and it allowed us to be confident and controlled after that.

Denmark will be tougher but I think Southgate has already shown he doesn’t take anyone lightly.

I heard talk about resting players on a booking against Ukraine but he didn’t because that would have looked as if we were already preparing for the semi-final.

It’s been one game at a time so far and has to continue like that. The fans will sing, ‘Football’s Coming Home’ at Wembley but the players can’t afford to think like that, and I don’t think they will.

Danny Murphy was speaking to Joe Bernstein




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