England better equipped for Euro 2020 than they were for World Cup – Harry Kane

Kane was top goalscorer as England reached the World Cup semi-finals in Moscow in 2018.
England better equipped for Euro 2020 than they were for World Cup – Harry Kane

By Mark Mann-Bryans, PA

Harry Kane insists England are in a better position heading into the European Championship than they were for their run to the 2018 World Cup semi-final.

England begin their Euro 2020 campaign against Group D rivals Croatia at Wembley on Sunday.

The same opponents ended England’s World Cup hopes three years ago but both squads have changed since.

Captain Kane, who won the golden boot in Russia, feels England are now better suited for tournament football having gained more experience for club and country since their agonising exit in Moscow.

Kane was part of the England team which lost to Croatia at the 2018 World Cup.
Kane was part of the England team which lost to Croatia at the 2018 World Cup. (Aaron Chown/PA)

“I’d say so,” the Tottenham striker told the Official England Podcast when asked if the squad is stronger than in 2018.

“We’re probably in a better place. Going into that World Cup, we maybe weren’t sure where we were as a team, but we performed really well and stepped up to the occasion.

“I feel like now we’ve had a bit more experience, players in the biggest games for their club and obviously players who have played in that World Cup have had that experience as well.

“I feel like we are in a good place. We know there is still a lot of hard work that goes into it.

“We don’t just turn up and win the tournament. We haven’t won a tournament as a country for a long, long time, so there needs to be a lot of good mentality along the whole way as it is a long, tough journey to get to the later stages of a major tournament.

“Obviously there’s a bit more pressure on us this year than there was going into that World Cup, so we just have to take it in our stride and look forward to the challenge.”

The likes of Phil Foden, Jack Grealish and Jadon Sancho will be experiencing international tournament football for the first time.

Kane is now an elder statesmen of a 26-man squad that has just three players over the age of 30, and he believes the depth of talent and the balance in experience levels gives England a good chance.

“I’m only 27 years old, but I feel like one of the older ones and I am one of the older ones in the team,” he added.

“We have a great balance and we know we have a long way to go with a lot of hard work between now and, hopefully, the end of the tournament, so we’ll do all we can in this preparation stage.

“Everyone gets on really well and the group is great. We’ve got a great balance between young and experienced players.

“We’ve got players who have been playing in the best games, the biggest games, cup finals and we have a great team.

Jack Grealish has impressed in England's two Euro 2020 warm-up fixtures.
Jack Grealish has impressed in England’s two Euro 2020 warm-up fixtures. (Nick Potts/PA)

“To be one of the best teams in the tournament, you have to have great depth in positions and that’s what we have got.

“We have a lot of competition for places and, as a striker, there are so many creative players who set me up and it’s a joy to play in.”

Kane sat out the final warm-up friendly as Marcus Rashford’s penalty earned a 1-0 win over Romania in Middlesbrough.

The squad will reconvene at St George’s Park to prepare for the Croatia game, with Kane already planning how to spend his down-time.

Kane will spend his downtime watching Kit Harington and the rest of the cast of Game of Thrones
Kane will spend his downtime watching Kit Harington and the rest of the cast of Game of Thrones (Liam McBurney/PA)

“We’ve got a cricket pitch and we might get a bit of golf in, but it’s more around the hotel,” he said.

“Boys will be playing PlayStation and things like that, but I’ve just started Game of Thrones, believe it or not.

“I’ve got a nice little period to finish that off and it’ll be finished before the end of the tournament.

“World Cup I was (playing PlayStation), but I’ve got three kids now, so I struggle to find the time. I might take it and have the odd game of Fortnite, but not as much as I used to.”

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