Roar Ready: Southgate Urges England Stars, Kane Aims for Golden Boot

Roar Ready: Southgate Urges England Stars, Kane Aims for Golden Boot

Harry Kane will lead England’s young lions into Euro 2024 battle on Sunday night intent on winning the Golden Boot.

England head coach Gareth Southgate, who is set to hand Marc Guehi his major tournament debut and Trent Alexander-Arnold a role in central midfield, is putting the finishing touches to his side’s preparations for this evening’s tournament opener against Serbia.

Captain Kane (above) will be relied on to score the goals that will deliver England’s first major trophy since 1966 and the Bayern Munich striker, who won the European Golden Boot in his first season in Germany and also won the award at the 2018 World Cup, said: ‘I know what I am capable of.

‘I know what I have done year after year. There is no reason why I can’t be the top scorer at this tournament.’

Almost half of Southgate’s squad have never played in an international finals and the boss has urged his inexperienced party to thrive under the pressure.

Harry Kane (pictured) is aiming to win the Golden Boot at the 2024 European Championship

Gareth Southgate (pictured) has also urged his young England team to seize the moment

Gareth Southgate (pictured) has also urged his young England team to seize the moment 

‘We have got a balance of players who have been in some really big nights together and others who have a rawness, an energy and an excitement about being in their first tournament and both things I think are adding to the group,’ said Southgate, who also revealed Jude Bellingham has joined Kane, Kyle Walker and Declan Rice in his team’s new-look leadership group.

‘In Russia (World Cup 2018) we were one of the youngest and least experienced teams, so I don’t think it is essential that you have experience throughout and equally we have enough players who have played on the big nights either with us or their clubs and are able to deliver in those moments.

‘That can be helpful, but innocence is a bonus. So there is opportunity for people to make a name for themselves, this is a moment in time for them.’ 

For all the talk of England’s fledgling feel, Southgate is set to select a side with bundles of top club and international experience.

Jordan Pickford will start in goal and will be protected by a back-four of Kieran Trippier, John Stones, Walker and Guehi, who is expected to deputise for Harry Maguire — missing the tournament through injury — in the heart of England’s defence.

Southgate’s biggest call will come in central midfield with Alexander-Arnold, who plays at right back for Liverpool, set to partner Rice and Bellingham — who will play in a slightly more advanced role — in the middle of the park. Bukayo Saka is hopeful of starting having entered the week with fitness issues, while Phil Foden and captain Harry Kane are likely to join the Arsenal forward in attack.

Meanwhile, Southgate will make a late decision on whether to include Luke Shaw on the bench for the game following his return to full training.

The Three Lions boss noted that there is plenty of experience in his squad which is coupled alongside some younger stars (pictured Anthony Gordon, left, John Stones, right)

The Three Lions boss noted that there is plenty of experience in his squad which is coupled alongside some younger stars (pictured Anthony Gordon, left, John Stones, right) 

Southgate will select a side that is jam-packed with players who have experience at the top level

Southgate will select a side that is jam-packed with players who have experience at the top level

Jude Bellingham (right) was appointed to Southgate's leadership group, with the England boss explaining he 'wanted to make sure the voices of the younger players are heard'

Jude Bellingham (right) was appointed to Southgate’s leadership group, with the England boss explaining he ‘wanted to make sure the voices of the younger players are heard’ 

The Manchester United defender, who is unquestionably England’s preferred option at left back, has not played since February due to a hamstring injury, but was still selected by Southgate given his importance. ‘We have to make a decision on whether he is at a level where he could have an influence on the game from the bench,’ said Southgate.

On the decision to appoint Real Madrid star Bellingham, 20, into his leadership group, Southgate added: ‘I want to make sure the voices of the younger players (are heard), so I’m really in touch with that as well.

‘I don’t want to leave here with any stone unturned, I don’t want to have missed anything.

‘I want the opinions of the four boys, but also they are involved with different age groups in the squad. They will be able to pick up what’s going on with different areas of the squad.’

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