Gareth Southgate has praised the contribution of Harry Kane as England rounded off their World Cup qualification campaign with a 1-0 victory over Lithuania on Sunday.
The Three Lions went into the match in Vilnius with their place at next summer’s finals in Russia already assured, but they made sure they ended the qualification process with a victory thanks to a first-half penalty from Spurs ace Kane.
The 24-year-old, who has now netted 12 goals for the Three Lions, has also captained his country in their last two matches and Southgate has praised the forward’s leadership qualities, although he is yet to decide who will be his permanent skipper for next summer’s tournament.
“I think it’s important that he is scoring and leading from the front,” Southgate told ITV.
“We need that leadership and he has certainly impressed me with everything he has done.”
Despite their smooth passage through to the finals, England’s performances have come in for criticism over recent months, but Southgate has put their latest lacklustre display down to making a number of changes to his starting line-up.
“Put today into context; we made seven changes. That inevitably means that you will be disjointed at times,” he added.
“We haven’t scored the number of goals we would have liked to but we gave three full debuts and wanted to try something. A bit more quality in the final third is what was missing.”
England’s World Cup credentials will be put to the test when they take on Germany and Brazil in prestigious friendlies next month, as they step up their preparations for the next summer’s global showpiece event.