Harry Kane urges England fans to get behind Gareth Southgate at Euro 2024

Harry Kane urges England fans to get behind Gareth Southgate at Euro 2024

Harry Kane has given his full backing to Gareth Southgate and urged the nation to get behind the under-pressure England manager.

Southgate has faced criticism for England's limp start to the European Championship, with the 1-0 win over Serbia followed by a dismal 1-1 draw with Denmark.

England, though, remain comfortably on course for the last-16 at Euro 2024 and can top the group if they beat Slovenia in Cologne on Tuesday.

Kane, who has hit back at criticism of the side from former England captain Gary Lineker, believes Southgate remains the best man for the job.

"Yeah, absolutely," the Bayern Munich forward said on Sunday.

"I can’t speak highly enough of Gareth and what he has done for this team and the nation.

"Where we were and where we are now as a national team is completely different.

"I think he’s brilliant on the details of making sure there is no stone unturned, everyone knows what they are going to be doing going into games. Just as a person, giving us the freedom going into games to be ourselves, whether that is off the pitch or on the pitch.

"I think being England manager is a really difficult job, he knows that and we know that.

"There are always going to be people who criticise or doubt him but his record speaks for itself - it’s really successful with us. But like all of us he’s determined to take that next step and win it and that’s what we all really determined to do.

"He’ll do what’s best for the nation and make the decision what is best for the team. All I will say is get behind him and support him as the players do."

England began the tournament among the favourites but they have looked a long way from the standards set by Germany, Spain and Portugal in the opening two rounds of matches.

Kane, though, says their performances against Serbia and Denmark have done nothing to shake the squad’s belief.

"We absolutely believe we can win it," he said.

Harry Kane has backed Gareth Southgate despite England’s underwhelming start (The FA via Getty Images)
Harry Kane has backed Gareth Southgate despite England’s underwhelming start (The FA via Getty Images)

"It’s always a hard one, you can win the first two games, 3-0, 3-0, and get carried away – everyone is saying you are going to win it and then you come up against some adversity in the first knockout game and you’re out.

"I don’t think it is a bad thing to go through a bit of a tough time to begin with, it widens the focus and makes you realise you can be a bad game away from being out of the tournament. We’ve coped with that well in past tournaments, it’s always a different journey for different teams.

"Whether we are classed as favourites or not we’ve always had belief we can win it and it’s down to us to go out there and try and achieve that."

Lineker, the former England forward turned BBC presenter, described England's performance against Denmark as "s***" on his podcast, prompting Kane to remind him to "remember what it is like to wear the shirt".

Asked if he had contacted Lineker about his comment, Kane said: "No.

"I don’t think there’s a need for it at the moment. With podcasts and things like that people are trying to promote their own channels and sometimes the headline, because you want the most views, isn’t always what [we] want to see.

"People will do things for their own gain, that’s just life but first and foremost we try to ignore it.

"But we should try to back the English players as much as possible because we are doing all we can to make everyone proud. The fans and pundits proud. I know they would love nothing more if we are all celebrating after the Euros.

"I’m sure they would love to have my opinion but when you are a player you are more focused on the team and more focused on the environment.

"I’m not telling people not to do their job, it's their job to analyse game and players.

"There will be games where I get stick or other players will get stick. Maybe when I’m 40 or 50 I’ll be on one of those shows trying to dig players out - I hope I’m not. It might change.

“But it is what it is, but from my point of view with the experience of players who have been there and maybe not played well in certain games and know how tough it is to play for England to maybe take a step back and see where you were and what it was like."