SAMI MOKBEL: England can't rely on Kane forever… so who follows?

SAMI MOKBEL: England can’t rely on Harry Kane forever… so what is the succession plan? Natural heir Mason Greenwood’s chances look non-existent, Ivan Toney is 27 and faces a ban – so what next?

  • Harry Kane will be 33 by the time of the next World Cup and can’t go on forever
  • Who replaces him in the England attack is less than certain for Gareth Southgate
  • Mason Greenwood and Ivan Toney have talent but may carry too much baggage

It is a question we’ve all asked ourselves: where would England be without Harry Kane?

Hopefully – fitness permitting – we won’t find out for a few years yet.

At 29, Kane can conceivably lead the line for England at the next two major tournaments.

He’ll be close to turning 33 by the time the next World Cup gets underway.

The England captain has used his vast wealth to assemble a team of private practitioners compromising of physios, trainers and nutritionists – away from the Tottenham umbrella – to ensure his body is primed to cope with the rigours of professional football.

Harry Kane has become England’s record goalscorer after netting his 54th strike on Thursday

Kane struck the winning penalty as England defeated Italy 2-1 at the Diego Maradona Stadium

But finding a successor for England’s greatest ever goalscorer could become a big problem

The injury concerns that dogged the earlier stages of his career have dissipated and Kane looks as lean and athletic as he ever has.

Whose to say he still won’t be spearheading England’s attack at Euro 2028 at the age of 34?

Robert Lewandowski has shown that an elite striker can stay at the top well into his 30s. Kane is cut of a similar cloth.

But the historic night here in Naples on Thursday should certainly serve to focus the mind of those in charge of the England team’s future.

As much as they’d like the idea of it, they can’t rely on Kane’s brilliance forever. He’s been a gift for English football. But his legacy could well become a curse for those who come after.

The natural heir to Kane’s throne is Mason Greenwood. An outrageous talent for whom, like Kane, scoring goals comes easy.

But the idea of Greenwood playing for Manchester United again, let alone England seems, given the controversy that has engulfed his private life, rather far-fetched right now.

Also we should not forget that the one and only time Greenwood was called up into the senior England squad he let Gareth Southgate down dreadfully for his part in bringing two females back to the team hotel in Iceland.

Mason Greenwood has the talent but his off the pitch matters in his private life look unlikely

The Manchester United striker had been set for a highly promising career at Old Trafford

Phil Foden, who was also at fault that infamous night, has proved that reintegration back into the England fold after such indiscretions is not impossible.

Indeed, as Greenwood tries to revive a career that was stopped abruptly in its tracks he could yet emerge as the man to take on Kane’s mantle.

But the prospect of that happening appears non-existent as things stand.

Marcus Rashford’s return to form will come as a refreshing relief to staff at St George’s Park.

But he is excelling at Manchester United playing out wide, not through the middle. In truth, that’s where England see him too – his ability to cut in off the wing with pace before causing ultimate destruction to defences a lethal weapon for club and country.

Southgate has tried deploying Rashford as a centre forward with varying degrees of success, though not enough for the 25-year-old to even get close to challenging Kane for the top job.

Ivan Toney has impressed at Brentford and hopes to make his international debut against Ukraine on Sunday.

The striker’s profile make him a clear alternative to Kane, though obviously Toney isn’t up to the England skipper’s level quite yet. 

Marcus Rashford has attempted to lead the England line but only produced mixed results

Ivan Toney has impressed at Brentford and hopes to make his debut against Ukraine on Sunday

His all-round game and what he brings to the team other than goalscoring means Toney is perhaps the closest option they have to Kane.

But again there are questions. At 27, time isn’t necessarily on his side given Kane is showing no signs of slowing down.

Equally, Toney is facing a lengthy ban over alleged betting offences that contravene FA rules.

Callum Wilson, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Tammy Abraham are on the peripheries of the squad but aren’t the answer.

Elsewhere, Eddie Nketiah at Arsenal has shown promising signs but it seems likely that he will have to leave the Emirates if he is going to have the chance to play regularly as a No 9.

Tottenham’s Dane Scarlett is highly rated, while there are hopes Arsenal striker Folarin Balogun can develop into a senior international.

But at the moment, there isn’t a clear succession plan and that should be a concern.

Of course, all this may not be Southgate’s problem. There remains doubts over whether he will continue as England head coach beyond Euro 2024.

But what is for sure is that replacing Kane will become a problem – a big problem – for an England manger down the line. 

Gareth Southgate has a huge task in trying to find a replacement for Kane in the future

Dominic Calvert-Lewin (left), Tammy Abraham (centre) and Callum Wilson have not worked

With his heart pumping and chest protruding, Kane strode into the away dressing room at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona with the confidence of a man who just made history.

Fifty-four international goals in just 81 appearances is phenomenal.

England’s all-time leading goalscorer; we are lucky to have him.

His incredible achievement, however, should also serve as a warning. Because without him…

Source: Read Full Article