Harry Kane is not England’s playmaker – Alan Shearer

Harry Kane’s role in Sunday’s Euro 2024 win against Serbia was different to what we are used to seeing him do for England, but it was just as important for the team.

We know Kane can drop deep and play wonderful passes forward for runners to get behind the opposition but, whether we were on top in the game or under pressure, he had another job to do in Gelsenkirchen.

As he explained afterwards, he stayed high early on because Serbia were defending deep and marking man-to-man. If he had dropped into midfield he would have brought a defender back with him, when we wanted to give our midfielders and other forwards as much room and time on the ball as possible.

The plan was to leave the midfield to it because, although Kane was not getting the ball, he was still drawing defenders to him, which allowed our other players more space.

Kane only touched the ball once in the first 35 minutes, when we were dominating the game, but he was still providing the focal point England needed up front. That is something he is very good at and it became especially important when we were under pressure in the second half.

When he was coming deep to try to help out, there was no-one to hit for an out-ball when we did win it back, and Serbia were very quickly on the attack again.

He was better off staying high up the pitch, holding the ball up and protecting it, and winning free-kicks – and he did that well later in the game.

Unfortunately one of the problems we had was we were often in too much of a hurry to take them, and ended up losing the ball again straight away.

That showed a lack of experience because in those situations, when you are under pressure, you have just got to be clever, take your time and take the sting out of the game.

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