Hodgson: Kane keen to play for U21s

Published: Wednesday 1st April 2015 by The News Editor

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Roy Hodgson has played down suggestions that Harry Kane will be exhausted by June and claims the young Tottenham forward is determined to go to the European Under-21 Championship.

Kane has enjoyed a successful maiden spell with the England seniors over the past week, scoring 79 seconds into his debut against Lithuania before putting in a decent display against a tough Italian defence in Turin.

Hodgson is happy to pass Kane back to the under-21 squad for the next international get-together in June so he can gain some valuable experience of tournament football.

After playing 43 games for Spurs this year, the north London club fear the 21-year-old will be exhausted by the time the Euros come around, but the England manager says he will have to get used to long seasons if he wants to wear the Three Lions for years to come.

“I’ve got to say I’m not a great lover of the burnout argument,” Hodgson said.

“If you want to be an international player then you’ve got to accept football tournaments take place in the summer at the end of the season.

“In my lifetime, as soon as the season has finished, footballers have gone to tournaments so basically that’s something that anyone who wants to be a top-class international footballer, and really believes he can help his country get to these tournaments, can’t then come and talk about burnout.”

Kane only conducted a couple of brief interviews during the international get-together so there was no opportunity to ask the striker whether he was interested in going to the tournament in Czech Republic, which runs from June 17-30.

But Hodgson maintains the player is very interested in dropping down to the under-21s for the tournament.

“Harry wants to go with the under-21s,” Hodgson said of Kane, who has scored eight goals in 10 appearances for the Young Lions.

“He wants to finish the job that he has done.

“He has been a major part of their qualifying campaign for the last 18 months.

“He’s had to work his way into the team and in my conversations with him it has been pretty obvious to me he would like to play in this tournament.

“Harry can play an important part and maybe help them go far in the tournament. That certainly won’t hurt his chances in the first team and I am happy to back him.”

Hodgson will allow England Under-21 manager Gareth Southgate to pick any eligible player he wants for the competition.

The likes of Ross Barkley, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Raheem Sterling are not expected to be selected, but Kane, Luke Shaw, John Stones and Calum Chambers – all of whom have played for the senior side – could feature.

“I understand there’s been an argument or debate about (fully capped players going to the tournament) and that is one for Gareth to sort out,” Hodgson said.

“If Gareth wants to pick Kane, that is fine by me.

“He is going to be important for Gareth.”

Hodgson and his assistant Ray Lewington aim to watch five games at the tournament, but they do not plan to stay there as they do not want to be a distraction.

“This is Gareth Southgate’s tournament. He doesn’t want me hanging around the hotel day-in, day-out,” Hodgson added.

While the under-21s prepare for the European Championship at the start of June, the seniors face the Republic of Ireland and Slovenia.

Hodgson hopes to have Jack Wilshere back from injury for the double-header – although he will face competition from Michael Carrick, who impressed in the 4-0 win over Lithuania and the 1-1 draw in Turin.

Wilshere starred in the 3-1 win over Scotland last November but then injured his ankle and has been out for over four months.

The 23-year-old has stepped up his recovery programme in recent weeks, though, and is nearing a return to action.

“I spoke to Jack at the Arsenal training ground the other day and he was very, very positive,” Hodgson said.

“But I have always been an admirer of Michael Carrick and am delighted to see him back.”

Published: Wednesday 1st April 2015 by The News Editor

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