Spurs balls: Harry Kane takes corners because he’s England’s best finisher
Why does Tottenham’s Harry Kane, the Premier League’s top goalscorer, take corners for England? Is the plan to have him bend one into the far corner? It seems utterly bizarre to have the side’s best finisher at the start of the move, marooned near the corner flag as the balls sails into the danger area.
Barney Ronay tells Guardian readers Kane taking corners makes “no sense”. Which of England’s opponents won’t be delighted to see Kane stuck out wide, preferring, surely, to battle in the box Wayne Rooney’s waning talents.
Kane has yet to score direct from a corner. Moreover, against Portugal this week he managed to pass directly to an opposition player. David Beckham he ain’t. Yet England manager Roy Hodgson says Kane is the “best man for delivery”. What does that say about the rest of the team’s aptitude with the dead ball? Says Roy: “I don’t need to apologise for Kane taking a corner, especially if you’ve got a player with his quality striking a ball and no one else in the team who comes up to that level of striking a ball.” It’s the same skill that makes Kane’s England’s best finisher.
What of the alternatives? James Milner took 116 corners for Liverpool last season. A big number. Most of them were functional or, as against Borussia Dortmund, weak. Everton’s Ross Barkley took 70 corners. Southampton’s Ryan Bertrand took 52. Kane took 7 for Spurs – and you can only envy Spurs for having Christian Eriksen, who hits the ball so sweetly. Rooney took five for Man United, the same number Raheem Sterling took for Man City.
Surely dropping Rooney for Sterling and honing the winger’s deadball abilities is one sensible move? But Hodgson sticks with his captain, which means Kane really is the best England man for the job – more’s the pity.