Tony Adams has urged Harry Kane to get closer to the opposition’s penalty area – insisting that if he were up against him at this World Cup he’d have a ‘cigar on’.
Kane formed part of England’s rather toothless-looking forward line against the USA, with a section of England supporters in the ground booing their side off after a disappointing display.
Writing in The Sun, Adams said Kane needed to play higher up the pitch, suggesting England go long for the opening period against Wales to try and pin them back.
Tony Adams said Harry Kane was resembling a ‘link player’ who was dropping to deep to threaten
‘Honestly, if I was a defender at this World Cup I would absolutely love playing against Harry Kane,’ he wrote.
‘He doesn’t get in behind the defence and he doesn’t face you up. He’s a link player who is going deeper and deeper to get the ball.
‘People probably feel I’ve got it in for Harry after I also said we should take the captaincy off him and give it to Declan Rice. But that isn’t the case at all. And it’s not an Arsenal-Spurs thing either.
‘We need Harry Kane, he is obviously one of the best strikers in the world, you only have to look at his numbers, but if I was a centre-back up against him in Qatar I’d have a cigar on.’
Adams admitted that forwards with blistering pace ‘scared the living daylights’ out him, particularly when he was forced to chase back towards his own goal. Referencing Kane, he said at 29-years-old, he doesn’t possess the speed to be able to go round a defender.
Kane formed part of a rather toothless England showing as they toiled against the USA
‘George Graham used to do a team talk for us at Arsenal and put the names of the forwards on the tactics board where he’d say things like, “Go tight to this one, give him a kick, he’s no threat in behind you, push him the other way, job done.”
‘But when it came to players from my generation like Ian Rush, Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke we had to be careful and keep our wits about us because they were going to make those runs.’
Comparing Kane to Alan Shearer, Adams insisted that Kane now needs players to feed him like the Newcastle legend had in his later years.
‘Harry’s 29 now and isn’t going to get any quicker so, like Shearer, he needs players to feed him.
‘Where I want to see Harry is on the edge of the box, holding the ball up, pivoting and laying it off the way Shearer could do and Alan Smith did for us at Arsenal.
Adams said that centre backs would not fear Kane dropping deep – and the USA had laid the blueprint to stifling England by not allowing their defenders to follow him into midfield
‘Then he has to get in the penalty area and hope we finally start putting some crosses in. That’s where I want to see him, not ten yards inside his own half. He’s no good to anyone there.
‘We’re not playing to his strengths. The only time he’ll come to life and be a threat is from a set piece at the moment.’
Meanwhile, Adams, who led England at Euro 1996, suggested Gareth Southgate’s side might go long initially against Wales – just to try and pin their defenders back.
The former England centre-back said that Kane’s only threat was, at present, from set pieces
‘We might benefit from playing the occasional long ball too. Teams have got out of the habit, believing you have to keep tight possession all the time,’ he suggested.
‘But a well hit long pass – not just a hoof down the field – can work wonders unsettling the opposition and putting them on the back foot. Jordan Pickford is good at it and so are Harry Maguire and John Stones. What’s wrong with pinging one up there for Saka to run on to?
‘Going with a few 60 yarders would be my tactic for the first ten minutes against Wales. Get them running backwards and push on to them. Let’s get them panicking from the off.’
Gareth Southgate should consider going long for the first 10 minutes against Wales, Adams said
Adams said that the forwards he truly feared during his career were ones that could get him chasing back towards his own goal
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