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Pundits must remember tournaments are tough - Kane

England captain Harry Kane speaks at a news conference
England lead group C with four points from their opening two games [Getty Images]

Harry Kane says that former England internationals who are now pundits should "remember what it’s like to wear the shirt" before they criticise Gareth Southgate’s side.

England captain Kane was one of a number of players who were criticised for their performance in the 1-1 draw with Denmark at Euro 2024 by a number of pundits, including ex-England internationals Alan Shearer and Gary Lineker.

When asked about the critics on television, Kane said they should remember how "tough" it is to perform in a major tournament.

“I would never want to be disrespectful to any player, especially a player who has worn the shirt and knows what it is like to play for England," Kane said.

"But what ex-players now have got to realise is it is very hard not to listen to it now, especially for some players who are not used to it or some players who are new to the environment.”

Kane believes former Three Lions players have "a responsibility" because their words carry so much weight with football fans.

"I know they have got to be honest and give their opinion, but also they have a responsibility of being an ex-England player that a lot of players look up to and people do listen to them and people do care what they say," said Kane.

"The bottom line is we haven't won anything as a nation for a long, long time and a lot of these players were part of that as well and they know how tough it is. So it is not digging anyone out, it is just the reality that they do know it is tough to play in these major tournaments and tough to play for England."

The Bayern Munich striker added that: "Being as helpful as they can and building the lads up with confidence would be a much better way of going about it".

Kane, who scored England's goal against Denmark, was substituted when it was 1-1 and his fitness levels have also been questioned.

Manager Gareth Southgate also said the team aren’t in the physical condition to "press" the opponent how they would like.

"If I'm honest with myself … have I played the best that I know I can? No. But I didn’t score in the group stage at the World Cup, I didn’t score in the group stage at the Euros," said Kane, England's record goalscorer.

"So from my point of view, it’s a bonus to be one goal ahead. I’d always judge myself first and I know I can play better and I know a lot of players in the team think the same – that we can all play a little bit better.

"I don't panic. I don’t get too high or too low. I’ll keep doing what I do and just go onto the next one.”

England are in control of Group C and avoiding defeat against Slovenia on Tuesday (kick-off 20:00 BST) will guarantee progression to the last 16.

Kane said England would have taken this scenario before the tournament "for sure" with their four points almost certain to be enough for one of the best third-placed spots should they lose to Slovenia and Denmark beat Serbia.

“We can be honest with ourselves that we haven't played the way we want to play but the good thing is we have still got results without doing that,” Kane said.

“But Tuesday is important for the feeling of the group, we want to finish top and take the momentum into the knockout stages and just all round have a better feeling coming off the pitch and take that into the rest of the tournament.”