He’s the captain and surely the first name on the team sheet. With 53 England caps under his belt, and 34 goals, Kane is one of the few experienced players Southgate can turn to. The Spurs striker has faced some criticism for his sometimes scrappy style of play and lack of success at the top level with his club, but what he lacks in elegance he makes up for in results.
In the middle of Spurs’ self destruction this season Kane has once again quietly and consistently performed, becoming the Premier League’s current leading goal scorer and assist provider.
As the 2018 World Cup golden boot winner, he is also the only player available for England with senior international silverware of any kind in his cabinet.
Despite impressive campaigns at club level from Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Patrick Bamford and Ollie Watkins which could warrant spots in the 26 man squad, Kane has to be England’s first choice centre forward.
England have an embarrassment of riches at the moment when it comes to young wingers and attacking midfielders. Foden, Mount, Grealish, Sancho, Maddison, Bellingham, Saka and more, as well as the more established Sterling and Rashford on the wings, are competing for three or four positions: left wing, right wing, and knowing Southgate probably only one attacking midfielder.
Of that crowd, Foden has proven himself to be the in form player, and these Euros, delayed a year, are perfect timing for Foden to announce himself to the world. He is fast becoming the standout player of a Man City team filled with world class talent, and recent performances against Tottenham in the League Cup final and against Dortmund in the Champions League have shown he is a player who rises to the big occasion.
Raheem Sterling, admittedly, has not had the best of seasons. He has dropped out of favour at Manchester City, and concerns over his finishing have returned, just when they seemed to have dispelled after last season’s 31 goal haul. However, his qualities are beyond doubt.
Due to his lack of pace but ability to spot passes, Kane needs pace alongside him, and Sterling offers that. His willingness to run at defenders is an important weapon in England’s arsenal, breaking down teams that sit back and providing an outlet when England are forced to play on the counter.
While there is a lot of competition, and it would be encouraging to see space made for Mount and Grealish in midfield, Southgate can’t overlook Sterling, who has learnt how to win at City, and with 61 international caps is England’s most experienced player.