Joe Cole explains ‘the positive thing’ amid doubts over Kane fitness as Southgate faces tough call

Joe Cole has explained “the positive thing” as England sweat the fitness of captain Harry Kane.

Kane is set to have a scan on his right ankle before Friday’s World Cup match against the United States.

The 29-year-old provided two assists in the Three Lions’ 6-2 win against Iran as they opened the tournament with a bang on Monday at the Khalifa International Stadium.

Kane had England fans’ hearts in mouths early in the second half when he went down gripping his right foot in pain after being caught by a poor Morteza Pouraliganji challenge.

The skipper managed to play on until the 75th minute but was seen leaving the ground with a slight limp and his right ankle lightly strapped.

The Football Association remained tight-lipped about Kane’s fitness the following day, but it is understood the striker is to undergo a scan before Friday’s clash with the USA.

But Cole doesn’t reckon the England faithful should be too worried, as Kane stayed on the pitch after the incident, but admits manager Gareth Southgate now has a call to make over his skipper.

“He’s had problems. The positive thing is that he continued after the incident,” Cole said, when asked whether Kane will be a doubt for Friday’s clash against USA. “Harry Kane would know himself, it is not a bad one.”

“What has probably happened is he has not recovered in the 48 hours as well as he would have liked. Just to be sure, they’ve taken him for a scan. It leaves Gareth Southgate with a question mark, does he rest him?”

Southgate immediately downplayed concerns over Kane’s fitness in the press conference immediately following the Iran game.

“I think Harry’s fine,” the manager said of the 2018 Golden Boot winner.

“I mean, it obviously looked a bad tackle but he carried on in the game and we took him off, really, because we felt it was a moment we could do that.”

Kane seemed fined straight after the match when he spoke to reporters, saying he was happy for others to get in on the goal-scoring act, having failed to net against Iran.

Asked if he was happy the team were not reliant on his goals, he replied: “Absolutely – to go far in any major tournament you need goals, not just from your main striker, but from all over the place.

“We started the game really well, the boys who have come on have done fantastic. Really pleased and I know it’ll give everyone confidence.

“Everyone, whenever you score or get an assist, it lifts their spirits and we’re going to need everyone to do well in this tournament.”

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