Is Now The Time To Back Harry Kane For Euros Top Scorer?
Harry Kane’s lacklustre performance in England’s opening game of Euro 2020 certainly raised a few eyebrows and left his backers ruing their decision to pick him over Romelu Lukaku in the top goalscorer market.
Kane was marginal favourite (5/1) to be the tournament’s top scorer before a ball had been kicked with Lukaku a close second (13/2), but those odds have been flipped on their head following the opening games for England and Belgium.
Lukaku’s brace in a 3-0 win against Russia has seen his odds slashed to 9/4 to finish up top goalscorer, while Kane has drifted out to an industry best price of 13/1 with Unibet having failed to score in England’s 1-0 win over Croatia.
But have the bookmakers jumped the gun a little too quickly? Granted, Lukaku is in pole position and his recent form for club and country suggests he won’t stop scoring anytime soon, but his short price of 9/4 has opened up an array of value options elsewhere.
Latest Euros Top Scorer Odds
Following his two superb goals against Scotland on Monday, Czech Republic forward Patrick Schick is the surprise contender so far, but with the Czechs not expected to go far in the tournament his top scorer odds of 25/1 seem about right.
Kylian Mbappe looks overpriced despite failing to score in France's opener, while Cristiano Ronaldo has come in from 17/1 to 9/2 following his brace against Hungary, but the real value is in Kane.
His price has more than doubled on the back of one performance and the Tottenham striker will fancy his chances of catching up with Lukaku when England host Scotland on Friday.
Gareth Southgate’s side look nailed on for victory at 2/7 with most betting sites and Kane is 7/2 to score two or more goals, which seems more than feasible given Scotland’s frailties were exposed by an average Czech side.
The big question is, where is Kane’s mind at right now? It’s no secret that he wants to leave Tottenham this summer and pundits were quick to link his club future with his below-par performance against Croatia.
City On Kane’s Mind?
Speaking exclusively to Gambling.com, former England international Ray Parlour insists Kane is professional enough not to let his rumoured transfer to Manchester City get in the way of England’s Euro 2020 hopes.
“He certainly wasn’t himself but the standards he has set for himself are extraordinarily high so when he drops below that standard he gets questioned,” Parlour told Gambling.com.
“Is he fit enough? Can he be as good for England as he is for Spurs? I’m sure he’s fine, he’s experienced enough to know he didn’t have a great game but that he can put it behind him and make sure he’s ready for Scotland.
“It wasn’t one of Harry’s best games but strikers sometimes get that. He had a great chance at the back post and probably should have scored, he would normally be putting those in the back of the net.
“It was an indifferent game but I’m sure Southgate will still be feeling that Kane will play a major part in this tournament because we all know how good he is. It was just an off game, everybody has them.”
Parlour believes any such deal between Tottenham and Manchester City could already be wrapped up but that it’s essentially out of Kane’s hands for now.
“Behind the scenes, the deal will be done if it’s done,” he said. “Harry has got to be focussed – he’s playing for his country".
“I’m sure there’s other players at the tournament who are on the verge of a move somewhere but what’s important right now is playing well for your country.
“Whatever happens behind the scenes, whether a deal is going to be done or not, I don’t think he’ll be able to change much while the Euros is ongoing. He’s done his bit, he’s told Tottenham he wants to leave now it’s down to Spurs to get the correct amount of money they want for him.
“If the money isn’t right, I’m sure he’ll still be playing for Spurs next season. They want top dollar for him. Maybe they want £150million, but I don’t think Manchester City will be paying that much for Harry Kane.
“He could still be in a Tottenham shirt next season but he can’t worry about that right now, he’s not really in control of that because he’s got three years left on his contract and Spurs have got all the cards at the moment.
“But when you’re away with the England squad you just have to focus on that. I’m sure Gareth Southgate has spoken to him about it and told him to forget about his club football for now.
“It’s a very important tournament for England, we’re among the favourites, playing at home, potentially playing a final at Wembley. I would be more excited about that than a move to Manchester City.
“His future will sort itself out after the tournament and I’m sure Harry accepts that. He might bang in two goals against Scotland and suddenly everyone will forget about the Croatia game.”
Scotland Next For England
A win for England against Scotland will secure their passage to the knockout stage but Parlour insists nothing can be taken for granted against a Scottish side which could be improved by the potential return to fitness of Arsenal’s Kieran Tierney.
“Tierney coming back for them would be a massive boost. We know they’ve got other good players too – Robertson, McTominay, McGinn,” said Parlour.
“I think England’s midfield choice will be interesting again. If Gareth goes with Phillips, Rice and Mount again then you’ll have them three up against McGinn, McTominay and Armstrong, which sounds like a good battle.
“I think they’ll go with two up front again to try and put pressure on Stones and Mings if they start for England at the back.
“Scotland created a few chances against the Czechs, I don’t think they played too badly, but Steve Clarke won’t have to say too much to get them fired up for the England game on Friday.
“If they can get a draw I think that’s a great result for Scotland but, who knows, if they can sneak a win they’ll suddenly find themselves in a great position.”
Despite being wary of Scotland’s threat, Parlour is predicting another England win but does not expect the game to be full of free-flowing football.
He said: “When you look at it on paper, it’s not a bad Scotland team is it? And if they can get Tierney fit and in there then it’ll be even better.
“I think it’ll be an interesting game, but I can’t see loads of goals. Both teams will be set up to make themselves hard to beat, be compact and take any chances that come.
“If Scotland are to take a chance first, then we know they can defend, so that could make for an interesting game. But I’ve got to go with England, they’ve got a bit more quality in the frontline and I would probably expect a 1-0 or 2-0 win.”
As for England’s starting XI, Kieran Trippier starting at left-back against Croatia was a surprise move by Southgate.
A natural right-back, the Atletico Madrid man got the nod on the left of a back four in what appeared to be a snub to Luke Shaw and Ben Chilwell, two natural left-backs in the 26-man squad.
Parlour was baffled by the decision but since England kept a clean sheet it has got to go down as the correct call – though Southgate now has a job on his hands when it comes to keeping Shaw and Chilwell on side.
“He’s got to pull the likes of Chilwell and Shaw to one side and assure them that there’s still a way in to this side, that’s how he can be a really good manager,” said Parlour.
“He’s got 26 players but he can only pick 11, so there’s always going to be players missing out and being disappointed but it’s up to the manager to get them over that disappointment.
“It happens in club football too, it’s how you deal with it and how you come back from it that counts. Chilwell will be dying to get out on that pitch and show everyone that he’s good enough, that’s the best attitude to have.”
Phillips At Home in Midfield
Another surprise selection from Southgate was Kalvin Phillips, who rewarded his manager’s faith with a solid midfield performance including an assist for Raheem Sterling’s goal.
“I love to see players take their opportunities and Phillips certainly did that,” said Parlour.
“I think Gareth was a little bit worried about their midfield because Croatia have so much experience, have good mobility and Modric on the ball is still as good as ever.
“I thought both Rice and Phillips were really good though. Combination wise, it was a nice blend.
“Phillips was getting forward that little bit more than Rice and played a massive part in the goal. I was really pleased for him, he took his opportunity when given the chance and that’s all you can do as a player.
“But if Southgate sticks with what is a winning side then maybe there’ll be opportunities for others to get a chance in the final group game.
“He’s been in this position himself as a player – when you get an opportunity you have to play well enough to be given another opportunity, and Phillips has done that. If he can build on that performance he could be a really key player in this tournament. Who knows, he could even be the player of the tournament.”
Phillips for player of the tournament is a long shot – so much so that he’s not even featured in the betting market with most bookies – and his team-mate Kane also looks an outsider at 16/1.
As a striker, Kane will be more focussed on winning the golden boot and having drifted out to 13/1 after drawing a blank in the opener, perhaps now is the time to back his inflated odds as there could be much more to come from the 27-year-old.
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