England confident Harry Kane will be fit to face USA after World Cup injury scare

England confident Harry Kane will be fit to face USA after World Cup injury scare

England are optimistic that Harry Kane will be available for the game against the USA on Friday night after he took part in training on Wednesday. The captain sparked alarm when he had a scan on his right ankle after hurting it during the 6-2 win against Iran on Monday.

Kane was caught by a bad tackle from Morteza Pouraliganji in the 48th minute, although he did play on until the 75th minute. There is now a confidence within the camp that, despite the precautionary scan, Kane will be able to play.

The England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford said: “I think Harry is good, probably just a little bit sore. I’m sure he is fine. He was out on the grass with us today, which is good. He is our captain.”

The condition of Kane’s ankles has been a part of his story, particularly between 2016 and 2019 when he endured five layoffs with ligament damage – the first three on the right foot, the second two on the left.

Since April 2019 he sustained much less serious problems with his ankles on two occasions, when sprains briefly ruled him out in February 2021 and then in April of the same year.

Kane has credited the work he has done more recently with a private physiotherapist in making him more resilient.

James Maddison, who is carrying a knee injury, again did not train with the squad on Wednesday, making him a doubt for the USA game.

Pickford has urged England, who have kept only two clean sheets in 2022, to defend with more focus against the USA. He did not hide his anger when Iran put two late goals past him and echoed Southgate’s warning about the importance of keeping concentration levels high.

“As a whole squad we want to keep clean sheets because we know how important they are through tournament football,” Pickford said.

“We were 4-0 up and conceded an easy goal really. They got a penalty which was a bit of an indifferent one. You’re never going to be happy conceding a goal and we will build on to USA and hopefully get a clean sheet.”

Pickford, who excelled during the 2018 World Cup and Euro 2020, praised Harry Maguire’s performance against Iran. He argued that the defender, who has struggled for Manchester United this season, has received too much criticism for indifferent club performances.

“We have a great relationship,” Pickford said. “The majority of my caps have been with Harry playing in front of me and we work really well together. Our defensive record with Harry playing there is really good as well and he is in a very good moment.

“He needs to be respected a lot more but part of being a footballer is being criticised. Everyone gets criticised in football. But Harry is mentally strong and takes it really well. I think it’s a bit unfair but his performances on the pitch show why he has so many caps for England and is captain of Man United.”

Pickford addressed the VAR decision that led to John Stones giving away a penalty against Iran for a slight tug of Pouraliganji’s shirt. “I’ve not looked at it back but it was meant to be a soft decision. If we have to address it as a squad defensively and see what is happening in the other matches decision-wise, we will have to take a bit more focus on it with a decision like that getting given.”

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