Harry Kane injury leaves Gareth Southgate ‘with a question mark’ ahead of USA game at World Cup, says Joe Cole

Former England player Joe Cole believes that Harry Kane’s ankle injury is serious enough to put his place in doubt for the World Cup game against the USA.

Kane suffered the injury when he was fouled in the second half by Morteza Pouraliganji during England’s thumping 6-2 win. over Iran.

He will undergo a scan on the ankle to ascertain the extent of the injury.

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Speaking on ITV ahead of the World Cup game between Morocco and Croatia, Cole was not overly concerned but believed that any issue may cause England manager Gareth Southgate to protect the team captain.

“He’s had problems,” Cole noted of Kane’s past ankle complaints. “But the positive thing is he finished the game, he carried on after the incident which suggests Harry would know himself it’s not a bad one.

“What’s probably happened is he’s not recovered in the 48 hours as well as he [Southgate] would have liked, and probably to be sure, taken him to a scan. It leaves Gareth with a question mark: does he rest him for this game, knowing that it could be vital in the third game?

“I’m not too worried. Fingers crossed.”

Kane left the stadium with strapping and had a slight limp.

After the match, Southgate said: “I think Harry’s fine. It looked like a bad tackle but he carried on in the game. We took him off because we felt it was a moment in the game we could do that.”

The 29-year-old forward took part in a recovery session on Tuesday, but is no longer a certain starter for Southgate as he prepares his team selection for the side’s second group stage game against the United States.

Southgate may elect to start with another of his strikers so as not to risk Kane for the third game against Wales, and potentially any knockout rounds to come.

His alternatives would be to play Raheem Sterling through the middle as he has occasionally played for Chelsea and Manchester City, use Newcastle United’s Callum Wilson, or Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford. Rashford typically plays on the flanks for his domestic team but this season with Erik ten Hag as coach he has sometimes been asked to play through the middle.

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