England's World Cup hopes 'stand or fall' with captain Harry Kane

England’s World Cup hopes ‘stand or fall’ with captain Harry Kane, warns Jamie Carragher – who says striker will have to be fit and at his best for Gareth Southgate’s men to mount a challenge

  • Jamie Carragher believes Harry Kane is the key man if England are to succeed
  • Former Liverpool defender can see no alternative to Kane at the top of the pitch
  • Kane’s imperious form has continued into this season, while others are hampered with injury and only Ivan Toney can match his record this term 
  • Click here for all the latest World Cup 2022 news and updates

England’s World Cup hopes ‘stand or fall’ on the form of their captain and talisman, Harry Kane, insists Jamie Carragher.

The former Liverpool defender, who was capped 38 times by England, believes there are up to five teams for England to fear in Qatar, but the Three Lions have the squad to be competitive, as long as Kane is firing on all cylinders.

The importance of Kane will be underlined when Gareth Southgate names his England squad on Thursday for two Nations League games against Italy and Germany this month.

Harry Kane is crucial to any English hopes of winning the World Cup in Qatar this winter

It will be Southgate’s final squad selection ahead of the World Cup, which opens in November, but in the striking department Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Patrick Bamford and Callum Wilson are not in contention. Manchester United’s resurgent Marcus Rashford is also set to miss out through injury, so England have thin pickings up top.

Southgate sees Tammy Abraham as natural cover for Kane, but after a fine season with Roma last term, in which he scored 17 goals in Serie A, he has started slowly in this campaign.

‘It stands up or falls down around Harry Kane, the captain of the country. I don’t think we have anyone to replace him at all,’ Carragher told Sportsmail.

Kane’s goal scoring is relentless for both Tottenham Hotspur and for the national team

Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher believes Harry Kane is the key to England’s World Cup hopes and Three Lions’ manager Gareth Southgate does not have many understudies to choose from

‘He is a world-class player. He wasn’t at his best in the last tournament and he still got four goals in and he was nowhere near his best as a player.


Jamie Carragher is supporting the crusading charity, Football for Change. The ex-Liverpool defender launched the initiative last year with Trent Alexander-Arnold, Conor Coady and Dominic Calvert-Lewin to help young people from social and economically challenged backgrounds build better futures

The major social mobility initiative aims to lift young people from disadvantaged backgrounds out of poverty with life-changing opportunities in education and employment.

Since launching in November, Football For Change has raised £350,000 and is aiming to double that at a star-studded fundraiser next week.

Noel Gallagher is the headline performer with his High Flying Birds and Melanie C and Emeli Sande are also providing entertainment with individual sets. Football legends, business leaders and celebrities will all be in attendance at the event which is headline sponsored by Swinton Insurance.

‘If England get Harry Kane anywhere near his best it gives us a great opportunity of going far in the competition.’

Kane’s scoring is simply relentless. In the past eight seasons the Spurs striker averages more than 22 goals in the Premier League. He bagged 17 last term and has raced onto five during this campaign.

Over the years Kane’s game has developed. He how drops deeper and links the play more effectively, but it has not diminished his potency in front of goal and his desire to be in the danger zone at the crucial moments.

He is now third in the all-time list of Premier League goal scorers on 188, behind Alan Shearer and Wayne Rooney, having recently overtaken Andy Cole. For England, Kane has 50 goals in 73 caps, just three behind Wayne Rooney’s record of 53.

Kane scores in big games, too. At the 2018 World Cup his six goals earned him the Golden Boot as England made it to the semi-finals, losing to Croatia.

In Euro 2020, Kane looked subdued in the group stages, but came alive when it mattered, scoring against Germany in the round of 16, twice against Ukraine in the quarter final and he notched the winner in the 2-1 victory over Denmark in the semi-final. He was instrumental in the build up to England’s goal in the final, too, before the Three Lions lost on penalties to Italy.

With a lack of out-and-out strikers to choose from Southgate may turn to Brentford’s Ivan Toney this winter. The 26-year-old has been in scintillating form this season, scoring five top-flight goals and making two assists. He has scored 13 since January.

England have been drawn in Group B at the World Cup, against Iran, USA and Wales. If the Three Lions come out on top and other results go with form, they could expect to play Senegal, France and Belgium, before meeting the favourites, Brazil, in the final.

Jamie Carragher fears England would struggle to replace him their captain Harry Kane

Tammy Abraham is seen as the natural understudy to Kane and he had a fine season last year

Brentford’s Ivan Toney is in stunning form and could force his way into the World Cup squad

In the current FIFA world rankings, France, Belgium and Brazil are all listed ahead of England, who sit fifth.

‘It will be difficult,’ added Carragher. ‘There are probably four or five teams that could just edge England in a one-off game, but because it is a World Cup and because it is a cup competition, those teams could meet, they could be off form, they could be missing a great player in a certain game.

‘England need to keep their best players on the pitch and fit and at their best to give them an opportunity, but I would expect England to be really competitive.’

And Kane is the key.

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