Repino: Gareth Southgate will assess Harry Kane in training on Friday before determining whether his captain, pursuing the World Cup’s golden boot, will start in the third-place play-off against Belgium in St Petersburg on Saturday.
Kane tops the scorers’ charts with six goals, two clear of Romelu Lukaku going into their teams’ second meeting at the tournament, and three from France’s Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann, who will compete in the final. The striker, rendered ineffective by Croatia, has declared himself fit, though the personal trophy would not compensate for the disappointment endured in Wednesday’s semi-final.
“The third-place game is not a match we wanted to be in,” Kane said. “But we will try to play with as much pride as we can and finish on a high. We will still be thinking of the semi-final defeat, and what could have been, but of course I want to play. Everyone will want to.
“We are extremely proud of what we have achieved. We know we have restored pride in the England shirt, back home as well, so we can hold our heads up high. But we know that it is an opportunity lost. The aim now is not to have to wait another 20-odd years to get into another big semi-final.”
Southgate does not expect Kieran Trippier, Ashley Young or Jordan Henderson to be fit, the wingbacks having picked up injuries against Croatia and the midfielder having aggravated a hamstring complaint.
“It will be more about the physical capabilities of the team,” the manager said. “It’s the chance to have our second-best-ever finish and the chance for the players to get a medal. So there’s that and there’s the pride in playing for your country again. So we’ll try and get the team that is best able to do the job.
“Harry does not have an injury but we will see how he feels. He’s had another 120 [minutes] and I don’t know the full injury update. We only have a two-day recovery, and I’m sure some of the guys won’t be able to get out there. I’d be really surprised if Trippier is out there. Young, too. So we will have to make changes.”
Trent Alexander-Arnold, Eric Dier and Danny Rose are likely to start.