Harry Kane had a quiet afternoon as England began their Euro 2020 campaign with a win and a clean sheet over a Croatia side that dumped them out of their last major tournament appearance in the 2018 World Cup.
Many of England’s brightest performers on the day were those that faced question marks from fans after the line-up was announced, including the likes of Kalvin Phillips, Tyrone Mings and Sterling himself.
However, it was the Three Lions skipper who endured a more disappointing afternoon, with Kane struggling to have any real impact on proceedings for the majority of the contest.
Following the game, the tactics surrounding how Kane was deployed were heavily scrutinised by fans, but the Tottenham star explained how supporters concerns were simply part and parcel of football.
In his post-match interview, Kane said: “The manager is doing his job and the fans are debating, that’s part of football.
“Everyone has their own opinions on who should play. It’s not going to be the same 11 every game. Dropping deep has always been my part of my game, allowing others to run in behind.”
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The England no.9 spent much of the first half isolated from the action, before registering his only shot on goal of the game mid-way through the second half.
Chelsea star Mason Mount fizzed a delightful cross across the face of goal, but Kane failed to convert from close range, injuring himself in the process after colliding with the goal-post.
In what was a rare sight, Kane was hauled off before the 90 minutes were up, substituted in place of 17-year-old Jude Bellingham with just under 10 minutes to go.
The England skipper will be keen to show the same kind of form that saw him take home the Golden Boot in his last outing a major tournament during the 2018 World Cup.
Gareth Southgate’s side welcome Scotland to Wembley on Friday evening in their next group game clash knowing full well a win would them in the driving seat for qualification to the knockout stages.