Spurs form catches up with Kane as sluggish England held

More to the point, he was right to do so.

Despite claiming before this match that he had no concerns about Harry Kane’s lack-lustre start to the season for Tottenham, even Southgate could not ignore what was in front of him as his side toiled to a 1-1 draw.

Moments earlier England’s captain found himself in the rare position of seeing the whites of the goalkeeper’s eyes with the goal to shoot at. He snatched at the chance, lashing horribly wide.

What looked like the moment when Kane would do what he invariably does with Three Lions on his chest and hit the back of the net, instead symbolised his struggles since seeing a move to Manchester City collapse in the summer.

While the goals have kept on coming for England, with three in three in last month’s internationals, this was the night his club form caught up with him.

As well as that miss shortly before getting the hook for Tammy Abraham on 76 minutes, Kane could perhaps ask questions of himself when failing to get on the end of a first half cross from Luke Shaw. Zsolt Nagy was sharper and more determined to get to the ball, with both Kane and Raheem Sterling lining up at the far post.

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Sterling, too, was largely ineffective on the night, but it is the state of England’s No9 that will raise most questions.

He has not looked himself all season, but even when not at his best, when it comes to international football, he almost always delivers, having scored in his previous 15 World Cup or European Championship qualifying games.

Here, he typified England’s lack of cutting edge, despite Southgate naming an adventurous starting XI, with both Phil Foden and Mason Mount in attacking midfield roles.

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