One of world football’s biggest stars finds himself in a race to return to fitness at the World Cup.
England captain Harry Kane took a heavy knock on the right ankle during the Three Lions’ 6-2 rout of Iran on Monday. And although he lasted until the 75th minute after sustaining the blow, it appears that Kane may be feeling the after-effects a little longer than advertised.
Per The Athletic’s David Ornstein, Kane is expected to undergo a scan on his ankle, leaving his status for England’s match against the USA on Friday in question.
Gareth Southgate’s side are heavily reliant on their captain, who sits two goals behind Wayne Rooney for all-time leading goal scorer in national team history.
MORE: Full list of England’s all-time top scorers
Here’s what you need to know about Kane’s status ahead of Friday’s game vs. USA.
What is Harry Kane’s injury?
Kane went down in the 48th minute of England’s clash with Iran after defender Morteza Pouraliganji took him down with a crunching tackle.
Kane lasted until the 75th minute before being replaced by Newcastle striker Callum Wilson. After the game, he was seen walking around the stadium with a slight limp and light strapping on his left ankle.
Harry Kane walking through mixed zone with right ankle lightly strapped & slight limp after 48th-min challenge by Pouraliganji. pic.twitter.com/TZjX0jr00B
— Tottenham Tiers (@TottenhamTiers) November 21, 2022
While there didn’t appear to be much initial concern about Kane’s status at the time, he is now set for further examination to determine just how severe his issue is. England fans will undoubtedly be holding their collective breath.
England striker replacement options
Kane’s injury certainly throws a spanner into the works given just how reliant Southgate’s system is on its No.9. Still, the Three Lions are spoilt for choice in attacking areas, lessening the need to risk Kane against the Americans (especially with a +4 goal differential).
MORE: Where 6-2 thrashing of Iran ranks among England’s biggest World Cup wins
Wilson came on for Kane against Iran and has been on sizzling form in the league, bagging six goals and two assists in 11 appearances for the Magpies. He doesn’t offer the physicality or all-around play that Kane does, but few players do. And given the amount of creativity flowing through England’s front three, it seems reasonable to believe that the Newcastle striker can slot into the central striker position and cause some issues.
He also set up England’s sixth goal against the Iranians, showcasing the sort of playmaking that could make him an enticing option.
Rashford’s versatility — he’s shown a penchant for playing as both a wide forward and central striker in the past — could make him an appealing option for Southgate. He’s blessed with top-level pace, the sort of speed that could make a real difference, especially if the Americans choose to persist with the back-line pairing of Tim Ream and Walker Zimmermann.
Rashford is also in form, having slotted away calmly for England’s fifth goal against Iran.
Much like Rashford, Sterling has starred in both the wide and central role at different points in his career. He’s also coming off an impressive display in England’s World Cup opener, having notched a goal and assist against the Iranians. Sterling has a history of strong displays in international competition — he was arguably England’s most important player in its run to the European Championship finals in 2021. Whether or not he fills in for Kane up top, expect Sterling to be called upon to carry on the brunt of the Three Lions’ attacking threat.