Harry Kane is set to start England’s mammoth clash with the USA on Friday in a major boost to the Three Lions ahead of the showdown, Gareth Southgate has confirmed.
A win would see England qualify for the last 16 with a win and could confirm them as group winners should Wales and Iran share the spoils in the earlier kickoff.
But Kane’s participation was initially in doubt. England’s captain was on the receiving end of a poor challenge as the Three Lions romped home to a 6-2 win over Iran in their group opener, and though he played on, there were fears that he had suffered an ankle injury that could have ruled him out of their remaining group games.
However, scans revealed that he had escaped significant damage, and he was in full training on Wednesday and Thursday in his race to be match fit.
Now, Southgate has confirmed that he is almost certain to start 2018′s golden boot winner.
“Harry Kane is good, it would be a brave decision to leave him out”, he joked with the media.
It will come as a massive boost to England but also to Kane, who is just four goals away from Gary Lineker’s all-time World Cup record for the Three Lions.
Maguire also passed fit
Meanwhile, Manchester United defender Harry Maguire, who was forced off with illness in the group opener, is also expected to reclaim his place at the heart of Gareth Southgate’s defence against the USA. It would mark his 50th cap for the Three Lions, with the Sheffield born defender a key part of the last two England sides at major tournaments, and set to be a third.
“I felt unwell in the second half and we have done all the appropriate actions and I have trained for two days and I feel good. I am ready to go for tomorrow”, he told the media.
“My 50th cap will be a really proud moment for myself. I’ve had some unbelievable memories. Every time I put the shirt on, it’s such a proud moment.
“Scoring in the quarter-final of the World Cup and the Euros, reaching a semi-final, reaching a final: there have been many memories.
“There are still a lot of players who were there in my debut and are still there now. I’ve played a lot of games with John Stones, he’s been there in pretty much every game I’ve been in.”
Kyle Walker has also passed himself fit, but may have to make do with a spot on the bench should Southgate opt to continue with the back four that helped them score 6 against Iran.