Harry Kane hits back at Gary Lineker criticism: ‘There’s a better way of going about it’

Harry Kane hits back at Gary Lineker criticism: ‘There’s a better way of going about it’

Harry Kane has hit back at Gary Lineker’s criticism after last week’s 1-1 draw with Denmark

Lineker, the former England captain turned BBC presenter, described England’s performance as “s***” and said Kane “needs to do a lot better”.

Kane said: “What ex-players have to realise is that it is very hard not to listen to it now, especially for some players who are not used to it or who are new to the environment.

“I always feel like they have a responsibility. I know they have got to be honest and give their opinion but they also have a responsibility as an ex-England player that a lot of players looked up to. People do care about what they say and people do listen to them.

“Everyone has got their opinion but the bottom line is we have not won anything as a nation for a long, long time and a lot of these players were part of that as well, so they know how tough it is.

BBC presenter Lineker was strong in his criticism of England and Kane (BBC)
BBC presenter Lineker was strong in his criticism of England and Kane (BBC)

“It is not digging anyone out. It is just the reality that they know that it is tough to play in these major tournaments and tough to play for England.

“I would never disrespect any player. All I would say is remember what it is like to wear the shirt and that their words are listened to. You do hear it.

“We all want to win a major tournament. Being as helpful as they can and building the lads up with confidence would be a much better way of going about it.”

Kane acknowledged that England were below par against Serbia and Denmark but urged fans to remain calm and judge the team at the end of Euro 2024.

“[Being] calm is the most important one," said Kane, when asked if he had a message for supporters.

“A lot of us have been here and done it and we’ve given England fans some fantastic times. I know 99 per cent are fully behind us and fully with us, but as always during the tournament just to support us as they always do and I know they will.

“Then after the tournament you can judge us. I always say when it’s finished, there will be people judging us. We’ve had some good tournaments, we’ve had some tournaments where we’ve just fallen short. But during it, it’s up to us as players, as coaching staff, as the whole environment to get it right and find where we can get it right.

“People will have their opinions, but ultimately it will be us who make the decisions and try to find the solution.

"We are calm, we have been here before, we have a lot of experience, it is not a time to panic but a time to improve," he added.

"I love my other sports and always in these tournaments at this early stage it is almost like a boxer in the first couple of rounds seeing where everyone is at and how they feel. Or a golfer in a major tournament in the first round, don’t play yourself out of the tournament.

"Be calm. That is where we are at. We are looking at where we need to improve and of course we can improve, but it is not the time to panic and change everything. We just need to change a few fine details."

Kane missed Bayern Munich's final game of the season with a back problem which had restricted his minutes in the run-in, and he was replaced by Ollie Watkins with 20 minutes to play against Denmark.

Lineker also criticised the captain's pressing from the front during the BBC's half-time analysis, while England manager Gareth Southgate admitted after the game that his players are not yet fit enough to press effectively.

But Kane said: "From my point of view I am fit, I am getting better and better in each game.

“I have spoken in previous tournaments about trying to make sure you come into your peak for the most important part of the tournament, which is the knockouts.

“Time will tell, if we get knocked out a lot of questions will be asked but from my point of view it is important to go into this knockout stage feeling 100 per cent and I feel I am there.”