Harry Kane and England deserved the win against Tunisia, Alan Shearer admits

Sport360 staff 12:12 19/06/2018
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Harry Kane celebrates his second goal with Ashley Young

Alan Shearer lauded Harry Kane for scoring his first goals in a major tournament after his brace helped England get their World Cup off to a winning start against Tunisia.

Shearer, who scored when England beat Tunisia 2-0 in the 1998 World Cup, knows just how important it is for a striker to get off the mark so early in a tournament.

Kane opened the scoring in the 11th minute which a poacher’s finish before securing the win with a back post header to claim all three points for England.

Shearer believed Kane would have been desperate to get involved in the tournament after watching a number of the game’s biggest stars get amongst the goals.

“I can’t stress enough the importance (of those goals),” Shearer said on BBC1’s World Cup Match of the Day.

“He’d have sat for the last week watching Ronaldo, Griezmann and Pogba scoring goals knowing we would be talking about him and tournament football.

“The manager gave him the captain’s armband for one reason, he’s the go-to player when someone has to make a difference.

“It will give him huge confidence to get off the mark with your first goal, bring the games on.

“That’s why Gareth Southgate named him captain. When the manager is looking for someone to do something, you want the captain to do something.

“They kept going and nobody can say they didn’t deserve the win.

“It would have been so difficult for them if they didn’t get the win.”

The win put England level on three points with Belgium who beat Panama 3-0 earlier in the day.

Having named his squad early, there was pressure on manager Southgate to get off to a winning start.

And Shearer felt the performance will give Southgate and his players confidence going forward.

“It’s a great night for Gareth,” Shearer said.

“He was under huge pressure and he will look at his own performance.

“He named his squad very early and the players knew the system, now could they go about getting the result?

“We wanted England to give us a bit of hope and a performance that had energy and chances so there are plenty of positives.”

Frank Lampard was relieved to see England get off to a winning start, but wished the margin had been greater.

“Only for the chances we missed in the first half, we would have won this game before half-time,” Lampard said.

“The first game is the one to win and I fully expect us to beat Panama. 

“The crucial thing is taking the chances in this tournament.

“When you win you can put them (missed chances) to bed.

“The performance overrides that and maybe we’ll be more settled in the next game.”

Rio Ferdinand singled out Harry Maguire for his assured performance at both ends of the pitch.

“(Harry) showed personality. He made a few mistakes but he came through that,” Ferdinand said.

“That’s why he’s in the team and Gary Cahill isn’t.

“It’s about players who have the ability to bring the ball out, drag players towards them and play behind them.

“He released himself to get into attacking places.”

Gary Neville: part of the problem at the last eight tournaments

Gary Neville: part of the problem at eight of the last nine tournaments

Gary Neville believes beating Tunisia allows England to be more relaxed going into their second game with Panama.

Neville said on ITV Sport: “With five minutes to go I was worried thinking deja vu, thinking getting on that plane tonight those young players with only two who have started in a World Cup, waking up in the morning to what wouldn’t have been negative media, but an anxiety and nervousness.

“Thinking about the post-match video, thinking about the fact they have to play against Panama in a game they must win. And then the pressure builds.”

Neville admits the England squads in the past where he has been a player and a coach, have not been able to be trusted in major tournaments.

He said: “You cannot trust us. We’ve let ourselves down and I’ve been part of the problem in eight of the last nine tournaments. You cannot trust us to recover from a bad result in the opening game. It’s happened too many times.”

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