Gareth Southgate has been left with a dilemma over whether to pick Harry Kane in all three World Cup qualifiers.
Tottenham striker Kane is ready to play against San Marino, Albania and Poland and help England get off to a flying start to their campaign.
But that could put him on collision course with Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho who is keen for Kane not to start all three games and be treated with special care ahead of Spurs’ run-in and push for a top four place.
Kane, 27, sixth in the list of all time goalscorer with 32 goals, did not score for England in the whole of 2020, his last goal came against Kosovo in November 2019 and is 21 short of Wayne Rooney’s record.
England captain Kane is passionate about playing for his country, is desperate for success on the international stage and also wants to write his name into the record books.
Southgate is planning to rest and rotate players through the three games and has plenty of options in attack with Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Ollie Watkins also in attack.
England boss Southgate is likely to make changes for San Marino but also knows Kane’s enthusiasm to play for his country as captain.
Kane has barely missed any of Tottenham’s games since an ankle injury six weeks ago but even when he was doubtful for their win over Crystal Palace last month he declared himself fit and started.
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Mourinho said before the players left for international duty that he would not interfere but said he wanted Kane to be “protected” and said: “I cannot do Gareth’s work, the same way Gareth is not trying to do my work. He doesn’t make any comments about my selection, he doesn’t give any public opinion.
“He does what he thinks is best for the team. I believe that he has a good relationship with Harry. Good relations normally means good communication and I hope that happens between them without me being in the middle saying something. I hope that, between them, they can find some compromise to protect the player.”