16 Th11 2021 | 06:39 | Football
Gareth Southgate said “form is always temporary” after Harry Kane moved England closer to qualifying for the 2022 World Cup by scoring a first-half hat-trick against Albania at Wembley.
Kane was substituted during last month’s disappointing 1-1 draw with Hungary, but he looked back to his best during the 5-0 thrashing of Albania. The striker’s haul moved him to 44 goals in 66 appearances, nine behind Wayne Rooney’s record of 53, and Southgate will consider starting him when England look to secure their place in Qatar by earning at least a point against San Marino on Monday.
“Form is always temporary,” Southgate said. “What pleased me most was his all-round performance. We know he’s going to score goals. I liked the way he was aggressive in his hold-up play and running in behind. His link play was on song.
“We had good movement around him, particularly from Raheem Sterling and Phil Foden. We’ll make a decision on the team on Monday. There are a few thousand England fans going to San Marino. We’ve still not qualified for the World Cup. We want to put a performance on.”
There were also goals for Jordan Henderson and Harry Maguire, who produced an ear-cupping celebration after giving England an early lead. Maguire has been criticised for his recent displays for Manchester United and Southgate backed the defender to regain his form.
“He’s been a fabulous player,” England’s manager said. “He’s been rushed back from injury. You get lots of players who hide in the treatment room.
“I’ve got massive respect for him. You know you can go into a game not 100% fit and you’re always judged as if you’re fit. He understands that. I had a huge chat with him earlier in the week. His performance tonight was very good.”
Southgate revealed that Luke Shaw and Mason Mount are very unlikely to make the trip to San Marino, but he said that he will rotate his team. “What we’ve done well in the past is sustain performances with those changes,” he added.
Kane was pleased with the performance. “The pressure was on us a little bit as we needed to get this result, coming off the back of the last game when we didn’t finish as we wanted to,” the captain said. “I can’t credit the lads enough. It’s a great way to get closer to qualifying.
“Whenever you pull on an England shirt, you want to do everyone proud. Everyone was ready for this one. We came out on fire and got the three points.”
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