Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling offered the best possible response to their critics during England’s 3-2 victory over Spain, says Ian Wright.
Two Premier League stars have seen their form questioned at times this season, with accusations of burnout and misfiring levelled at them.
Tottenham striker Kane has, however, continued to provide a steady stream of goals at club level, even with an international barren spell now stretched to seven games.
The World Cup Golden Boot winner is considered to offer much more than a finishing touch, though, with former Three Lions striker Wright delighted to see the England captain provide two assists during a stunning victory for Gareth Southgate’s side in Seville on Monday.
“Harry Kane couldn’t have given a better response if he’d sat down and written the script himself,” Wright told The Sun.
“It’s been absolutely remarkable to hear the way some people have been putting the boot in on the England captain of late.
“Yes, before last night the Spurs striker had gone six games without a goal for his country. But never, for a single second, had Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate shown the slightest concern.
“In Seville we saw exactly why — and exactly why Kane, whether he’s banging in hat-tricks or not, is such a vital player for club and country.
“That first-half performance was one we couldn’t have dared to even dream about. Not against a Spain team under Luis Enrique.
“And while Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford rightly got the headlines for 45 of the most impressive minutes I’ve seen from England, you can’t overlook Kane’s role.”
Wright added: “The thing Harry’s found since his World Cup hat-trick is that when you’re a top-class goalscorer, it is often all you’re judged on. But there’s always been so much more to his game than that.
“In Seville we saw exactly what. His work-rate is phenomenal, as club manager Mauricio Pochettino has pointed out plenty of times at Tottenham.
“Harry showed when players run past him, like Rashford did in Croatia and last night, and when Raheem bombs forward, he is well capable of holding it up and linking as well as anyone.
“Maybe now - even if he’s not rattling in a hatful of goals every week - Harry’s critics will realise there’s a lot more to him than finishing. A heck of a lot more.”
Wright was also pleased to see Manchester City forward Sterling grab his first England goals in three years, with a well-taken brace showing how important he can be when playing with confidence.
The ex-Arsenal forward added: “I can’t let last night pass by without paying my own tribute to Raheem - if anyone deserved it, he’s the man.
“We all knew he’d gone a long time without an international goal. Yet never once did he hide, never once did he fail to show for the ball and never once did he have a pop back.
“Raheem kept his head down, kept fighting away and now has his reward.”