Alan Shearer says Harry Kane cannot be tired, and insists that his Golden Boot victory at the World Cup has masked his poor form for club and country.
The Tottenham striker scored six goals in Russia to win the award, including a hat-trick against Panama in the group stages.
However, he failed to score against both Sweden and Croatia in the last eight and last four, and has hit the net just twice in his opening five games of the season for Spurs, against Newcastle and Manchester United.
And Kane struggled for chances against both Watford and Liverpool as Spurs fell to successive defeats, and Shearer believes the 25-year-old has underlying problems that run deeper than just tiredness.
"I keep being told that Harry Kane is tired," he wrote in his column for The Sun. "Nobody mentioned this, of course, after Tottenham had beaten Manchester United 3-0 at Old Trafford last month.
"However, after failing to score in successive league defeats for Spurs and in two games for England, Kane apparently needs a rest.
"When I was still playing, the suggestion anybody might be tired never came into the equation. And particularly not when you were just 25 years old.
"It makes me wonder whether if people keep saying it, you start to believe it yourself.
"Kane, however, has not looked fresh for some time — and once again on Saturday during a woeful Spurs performance in defeat to Liverpool he looked very leggy.
"Some Spurs fans may even tell you this has been the case for a while now.
"Certainly, it does still make you wonder if he rushed himself back from that ankle injury in March as he contended for the Prem Golden Boot with Mo Salah. He hasn’t been able to hit the same form since.
"The Golden Boot he won at the World Cup has possibly even masked a deeper problem with his form.
"You can’t take any credit away from him for winning the award in Russia — but of his six goals, three were penalties and one a lucky deflection.
"His hat-trick came against undoubtedly the weakest side in the tournament, Panama. When we came up against our toughest opponent, Croatia in the semi-finals, Kane’s moment just came and went.
"You can mask poor form when you are scoring goals but in his last four appearances for club and country (albeit as a sub against Switzerland) he has not found the net."
Spurs are currently sixth in the Premier League, and face Inter Milan in the Champions League on Tuesday.