Kane has an eye for a pass and goal: Southgate

Kane has an eye for a pass and goal: Southgate

LONDON • England manager Gareth Southgate said he is not surprised by the number of chances Harry Kane has created for Tottenham this season, adding that his passing ability has always been as good as his finishing.

The striker has scored seven goals and provided eight assists in eight Premier League matches for Spurs this campaign, and Southgate said that he was delighted to have the 27-year-old firing on all cylinders ahead of today’s Nations League clash in Belgium.

“I know there seems to be more emphasis or more spotlight on that part of his game now, but he’s definitely always had it,” he said. “He’s as good a provider and as good a passer as he is a finisher and he is, of course, an outstanding finisher.

“Clearly the combinations at club level with Son (Heung-min), in particular (are impressive). When you’ve got runners going beyond him, he’ll find the passes. So we’re privileged to have him… it’s great to see him hitting that sort of form.”

Kane was an unused substitute in Thursday’s 3-0 friendly win over Ireland but is set to earn his 50th cap against Belgium, who are top of their Nations League League A Group 2 and two points ahead of England (seven).

“I’m hoping he does get that 50th cap… because it would mean we would have got through another couple of days without losing another player,” added Southgate, who is without Marcus Rashford and Joe Gomez due to injuries.

“Harry’s scoring record for us is phenomenal. You always know, going into a game with the likes of him and Raheem (Sterling), that we’ve got tremendous goal threat.”

The England boss has also indicated Jack Grealish could be in line for his first competitive full international start after the Aston Villa captain impressed against Ireland.

Grealish starred in an attacking role on the left flank during the win and set up Jadon Sancho for arguably the best goal of the game.

Southgate substituted Grealish after an hour, along with club colleague Tyrone Mings, and said he had done so with a view to the team’s upcoming fixtures.

“The two boys both played Sunday as well and we have got an eye on the next two matches,” he said, with the Three Lions taking on Iceland at Wembley on Wednesday after the Belgium game.

Meanwhile, Sancho admitted his form has dipped slightly this season but dismissed suggestions that it is due to media speculation about his club future.

The Borussia Dortmund forward has yet to find the net in six league games this season after scoring 17 in the previous campaign.

Asked if the speculation had affected his form, Sancho told ITV: “No I don’t think so. I feel like every player has a little dip in their career and I’m going through that.”

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS