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Harry Kane believes England handled criticism ‘very well’ at Euro 2024

Harry Kane believes England handled criticism ‘very well’ at Euro 2024

Harry Kane believes England have tackled the ‘noise’ that surrounds the team at major tournaments as the captain targets another European Championship final.

On Wednesday evening, England will play the Netherlands in Dortmund, with the aim of reaching their second final in a row.

After losing to Italy on penalties at Wembley three years ago, Kane is aiming to beat the Dutch in Berlin on Sunday evening and lead England to the first major men’s cup in 58 years.

England reached the semi-finals despite widespread criticism of their style of play and of manager Gareth Southgate, who was pelted with beer cups from the stands after a 0-0 draw with Slovenia in the group stage.

Southgate has spoken of the “unusual environment” surrounding his squad this summer as expectations grow following recent improvements in tournament football.

When asked how he and Southgate dealt with the criticism of the team, Kane replied: “There was no (specific) meeting – as one of the leaders and as captain of the team you always talk to players, especially the newer players, they always ask you questions about experiences etc.

“I think we have done a good job of preparing all the players for the tournament because of course you have to go out on the pitch and perform well and take full advantage of that aspect of football.

“But there’s a lot involved in tournament football, it’s a long time away together, a lot of preparation, a lot of time in the hotel, a lot of media attention. So it’s about dealing with all those things.

“I think over the years, since Gareth has been here and I have been captain, we have managed that really well and I think this tournament has been no different.

Harry Kane, right, suffered from cramp against Switzerland (Bradley Collyer/PA)
Harry Kane, right, suffered from cramp against Switzerland (Bradley Collyer/PA) (PA wire)

“The expectations may have been a bit different from the start and the noise may have been a bit louder, but I think we all handled that well and some players will use it as motivation.

“Some players block it, but in the end it just depends on what we want to achieve. We are very close, not only in terms of players, but also in terms of staff. We have all been in the same direction for a while and that is the only thing we think about.”

Kane is expected to take charge against the Netherlands despite his individual performance against Switzerland in the quarter-finals being seen as worrying.

The Bayern Munich striker was substituted in extra time before England secured their place in the semi-finals with a penalty win, although Southgate explained that their all-time leading scorer was suffering from “cramp” at the time.

Southgate has led England to three semi-finals in the four tournaments he has been in charge and now has a squad with a wealth of knowledge of the skills required to perform in knockout football.

The expectations were maybe a little bit different from the start and maybe the noise was a little bit louder, but I think we all handled that really well and some players will use it as motivation.

Harry Kane

According to Kane, the team at Signal Iduna Park can call on those collective memories, reaching the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup and the defeat to Italy in 2021.

“I think you just have to use the experience of the past to help you. We have a lot of players who have experienced big games at international level and also big games at club level,” he added.

“So you try to use all that experience in your career to prepare yourself as best you can and keep the nerves and the excitement under control.

“We’ve prepared for tomorrow like we prepare for any other game. I think in a game you just lean on your experience, on the leaders in the team who have been there and done it to maybe help some of the players who haven’t been there. But at the end of the day it’s about going out there and taking the opportunity with both hands.

“We are in a great position and we have an important game tomorrow to reach the final of the European Championship. That would be a great achievement and we have the chance to do that.”