England without Kane: Assessing the options | Euro 2020 Watch
In a worrying piece of news for England fans, Tottenham Hotspur boss Jose Mourinho gave a dark hint this week that star striker and Three Lions captain Harry Kane may be sidelined until the start of 2020-21 with his recent hamstring injury.
Mourinho was clearly not certain in his assessment – stating that Kane could be back in April or May, but even if the best-case scenario happens, it means that the striker will only have a handful of games to get match-sharp before the start of Euro 2020.
In the worst-case scenario, England would head into the tournament without their talisman – who secured the 2018 World Cup’s Golden Boot when he scored 6 goals in his 7 matches during the tournament.
So what can Gareth Southgate do in the absence of Kane? He has a number of options – but if England want to win their first European Championship, he’ll need to hope he chooses the right one. Here are 4 potential solutions available to him.
#1 The like-for-like replacement – Tammy Abraham
Okay, so Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham isn’t exactly the same sort of player as Harry Kane, but the two do have plenty of similarities. Both strikers are comfortable in front of goal and are great finishers, and they also prefer to play with their back to goal, holding the ball up and enabling his attacking teammates to get into the game before finding themselves on the end of crosses, through-balls or goalmouth scrambles.
To add to this, Chelsea have also primarily used a system with Abraham playing alongside two wide forwards at the tip of a front trio – essentially the same system used by England’s attack under Southgate since he switched to a 4-3-3 formation in late 2018. That means that he should be able to step into Kane’s shoes for the Three Lions with little issue adjusting to the system.
So would there be any drawbacks to using the Blues hitman as England’s first choice in the absence of Kane? Some would argue he’s still somewhat unproven; Abraham has scored an impressive 13 Premier League goals in 20 starts this season and also has two in Champions League action, but only one of those goals has come against one of the league’s ‘Big Six’, and he still misses a number of big chances, too.
But at 22 years old, Abraham is still a work in progress and as he continues to lead the line for Chelsea, he should continue to improve before the season ends. Based on this – assuming his goals don’t dry up – he could be the best option for Southgate in the absence of Kane.