FOX Sports Insider
AL RAYYAN, Qatar — Mystery continued on Wednesday over the fitness of England captain Harry Kane, a situation with a potentially seismic impact on United States hopes of continuing its World Cup journey.
England camp and head coach Gareth Southgate have made mixed statements about the condition of the right ankle of the star striker, who injured himself in Monday’s comfortable 6-2 win over Iran.
Ahead of Friday’s meeting against the USA (2pm ET on FOX and the FOX Sports App), England have deviated from their usual protocol on such matters, failing to offer definitive information on Kane’s health and leaving the media and public in the dark.
What Harry Kane’s injury means to USMNT
The ‘FIFA World Cup Live’ crew discuss England striker Harry Kane and his ankle injury.
“They keep it very secret,” Matt Lawton, the Times’ chief sports correspondent, told me on Wednesday. “It’s very unusual because while they like to keep their team secret, they’re usually not secretive when it comes to injuries.
“I actually think the journalists who cover England are a bit upset about it. They asked about Kane on Tuesday, they were told he was fine. Then a story comes up that he was for a scan.”
Several publications reported that Kane had indeed undergone an ankle scan, without giving any further details.
Then goalkeeper Jordan Pickford told reporters that Kane was present at Wednesday’s closed training session.
“I think he’s good,” Pickford said. “Probably a bit sore but he’s on the pitch with us today. He’s fine, yes.”
Kane was injured in the 49th minute of the Iran game with England in full control. Morteza Pouraliganji was yellow carded as a result of the violent clash that landed Pouraliganji’s weight on Kane’s ankle.
USMNT focuses on England
Doug McIntyre spoke to Jenny Taft and Alexi Lalas about the disappointing USMNT draw against Wales, Giovanni Reyna’s comeback and how Gregg Berhalter will prepare for England.
Whether Kane plays — and whether he’s working at full capacity — could matter a lot to US head coach Gregg Berhalter’s tactical plans. One of the best forwards in the world, Kane is a constant threat to any team he faces. Defenders Tim Ream and Walker Zimmerman would have to do their best to contain him.
US defender Cameron Carter-Vickers is well acquainted with Kane from his days with EPL side Tottenham and spoke of the Englishman’s consistency and professionalism.
“Training with him, you can see it all in how hard he works, his dedication, on and off the field, it’s top notch,” Carter-Vickers said. “He did that for so many years.”
The USA are in excellent health by comparison, with all members of the squad fit and available for Berhalter on Friday, including exciting striker Gio Reyna, who was unable to play in Monday’s 1-1 draw with Wales.
A win for England would secure qualification for the knockout rounds, while three points would be a serious step up for the Americans as they look to extend the team’s run to the Round of 16 in 2010 and 2014 reach or surpass.
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Martin Rogers is a columnist for FOX Sports and author of the FOX Sports Insider newsletter. Follow him on Twitter @MRogersFOX and Subscribe to the daily newsletter.
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