Thursday 24 August 2017 / 07:28 AM

SOUTHGATE’S AMBITION CLOUDING COMMONSENSE

Last week, Harry Kane met up with the England squad prior to their World Cup qualifier against Scotland on Friday night, a match ‘big brother’ won 3-0 at Wembley.

Realistically, he should never have been called up. He’s been out for two months, managed just 70 minutes for Tottenham the weekend before, and should have been managed carefully, seeing as prior to his injury he’d played football non-stop for three years.

It was a selection that made zero sense.

What would have made sense would have been for Kane to remain at Tottenham or have a few more days off. Not be dragged pillar to post to train with England even though he’s not at all fit.

And that’s kind of been confirmed, officially.

You see, today Gareth Southgate has sent Kane back to Spurs, meaning that he definitely won’t feature against Spain this week.

So what was the point of that?

He wasn’t fit enough to start, and Southgate clearly didn’t fancy bringing him off the bench, so why bother with this whole ‘call-up, let go’ scenario?

Southgate has explained that because Friday’s game was a qualifier, and the game with Spain is just a friendly, there’s no need to keep Kane in the squad – but one has to wonder why he needed to be in the squad at all given that Southgate didn’t start him and the interim boss also called up Daniel Sturridge, Jamie Vardy, Marcus Rashford, Wayne Rooney and Theo Walcott.

The reality is that Southgate was almost certainly concerned about scoring goals against Scotland, and wanted Kane on the bench ‘just in case’. But to me, this smacks of short-termism.

Clearly Southgate is desperate to prove his credentials and land the England job full-time, but personally, this restricted thinking has done nothing to endear his management to me.

It sends a message that he is more concerned about his legacy and about securing the role than he is about keeping one of England’s hottest prospects fit and healthy for years to come.

Did it make sense for Kane to be out for seven weeks and go straight back into an intensive training regime and a potential international derby? Of course it didn’t.

But Southgate, desperate to get the job, didn’t let that stop him. Regardless of how you dress this one up, the manager’s done the wrong thing here.

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Seb Greenwood

CBS’s longest-serving contributor, Englishman Seb is our leading football correspondent, pulling no punches with his opinions on the Premier League and the international scene.

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