Football Features

England vs Belgium: Harry Kane ready to be the Three Lions’ ‘playmaker’?

By Harry Edwards

Published: 15:00, 11 October 2020 | Updated: 9:20, 23 October 2020

There aren’t many players having a better start to the 2020/21 season than Harry Kane, and England will be looking to profit on this against Belgium.

For most of his Tottenham Hotspur career so far, Kane has been known as a pretty ruthless scorer, with 169 goals in 242 games during Mauricio Pochettino’s time at the club.

Since becoming a fully-fledged member of Spurs’ first team in 2014/15, Kane has scored at least 20 goals in four of his six full seasons and won the Golden Boot in two of those campaigns.

This form led to Kane’s first senior England call-up in March 2015, where he marked his debut at Wembley with a goal against Lithuania and hasn’t looked back since.

England vs Belgium: Sky Bet offer

All odds stated in this article are accurate at the time of publication (18:00, 10/10/2020); but customers wishing to take advantage of Sky Bet’s various In-play special offers should note that they will certainly vary in price beyond kick-off. You have to be 18+ to gamble. BeGambleAware

Ahead of Sunday’s game against Belgium, Kane has scored an incredible 32 goals in 47 games for England. That’s an average of one goal every 1.47 games and includes six at the 2018 World Cup to secure the Golden Boot (albeit with the help of three penalties).

But ever since the 2018 World Cup, Kane has taken up slightly deeper positions with greater regularity and his other strengths have come into the spotlight.

harry kane stats heat map graphic

With more frequent opportunities to involve himself in link-up play, Kane’s passing ability became more noticeable. He has kept up his goalscoring record under new Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho by scoring 22 goals in 27 games across all competitions, but the Englishman is now adding assists, too.

The way Mourinho sets his Tottenham side up, with three forwards playing very narrow, allows him to drop deeper without restricting his team’s presence around the opponent’s penalty area, as it sometimes did for England with their wingers.

This season alone, Kane has recorded six assists in the Premier League, just one off his best-ever total for a single season, and is one of only seven players to create 10+ chances. His six assists is also double any other Premier League player so far and clear of anyone else across Europe’s top five leagues. His closest rival is Montpellier’s Gaetan Laborde on four assists in Ligue 1.

Adding three goals to his six assists, no player across Europe’s top five leagues has been directly involved in more goals this season than Kane, a contender for both the Premier League’s Golden Boot and Playmaker awards.

The question now is whether he can carry this form over to England. Kane has been tested in playmaker-striker hybrid roles for England before, even during the 2018 World Cup. But there were many occasions where it was detrimental to England’s cause. With England using Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford to gain width in the forward positions, there was often very little support through the middle when England needed it.

But now they have a handful of talented forwards in their squad that can certainly benefit from Kane dropping deeper. Although they have different abilities to Son at Tottenham, the likes of Danny Ings and Calvert-Lewin are in good for for their clubs and both scored against Wales in midweek.

And if they don’t quite gel (or even if Southgate doesn’t give them the chance), let’s not forget the threat Kane still poses in front of goal. Currently, he considered England’s most likely goalscorer vs Belgium, at 6/4 to score anytime with Sky Bet.

Harry Kane odds vs Belgium from Sky Bet:

  • To assist 1+ goals: 6/1
  • To score and assist a goal: 14/1
  • To score a hat-trick: 66/1 (boosted from 50/1)