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H. Kane

Wayne Rooney explains why Southgate must bench Harry Kane for England's crucial World Cup clash against Wales

14:55 GMT+4 27/11/2022
Harry Kane England 2022
Wayne Rooney believes Harry Kane should be benched by Gareth Southgate against Wales to recover from his ankle injury picked up against Iran.
  • Kane injured ankle against Iran
  • In visible discomfort against USMNT
  • Rooney feels Southgate should protect his captain

WHAT HAPPENED? Rooney feels that Kane should have been hooked early in England's opener in order to protect the Spurs man, with the result practically guaranteed at half time. The former Three Lions and Man Utd star argued that Kane looked to be in some serious discomfort in their drab 0-0 draw with the USMNT, and Rooney argues that Southgate must take every opportunity to protect his captain.

WHAT THEY SAID: “The other big change I would make for the Wales match would be to rest Harry Kane," Rooney wrote in his Times column. "Against the USA, he looked like he may have been suffering the effects of a heavy knock he took in the Iran game. It was from a tackle in the second half and in that match I felt that Gareth should have considered taking him off at half-time.

"England were leading 3-0, the game was already won and Harry is our most important player. When there are opportunities to protect him and help him stay fit, I believe Gareth should take them — and that is why I would keep Harry on the bench against Wales.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Against the US, Kane was a shadow of the player that has scored 13 goals in 22 competitions so far for Tottenham this season, forming part of a misfiring England front three that never really troubled the American defence. Friday night's result leaves Southgate's team needing to avoid defeat against a plucky Wales side on Tuesday, who are fighting for their World Cup lives after a crushing defeat late on to Iran.


DID YOU KNOW? England's match against the USMNT was their 12th goalless draw at the World Cup; the most of any team in the tournament's history.

WHAT NEXT FOR ENGLAND? With or without Kane, England face Wales on Tuesday in what is set to be a blockbuster matchup. Rob Page's charges need nothing less than three points to be in with a chance of qualification, while a draw could be enough for the Three Lions to top Group B.