Should England use Harry Kane and Dominic Calvert-Lewin together?

It is a sign of England’s attacking talent that options are presenting themselves as readily as goalscoring opportunities. Recent form has given Gareth Southgate something else to consider – another good problem.

The talk lately has been that it’s a shame the sensational Dominic Calvert-Lewin plays in the one position that is fixed, given the stature of Harry Kane, but the thinking on that is changing. Why not play both? While Calvert-Lewin has been scoring so many, Kane has been creating even more. Southgate certainly has the option of playing the captain as a 10 and the Everton striker as a nine.

Calvert-Lewin would only be too happy with it.

“Why not? We have not tried it out yet. We did for 30 minutes against Denmark when we were chasing the game. We both played up there and we played a bit more direct. But he is a top player and I am pretty sure we can be compatible together.”

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Southgate insists Kane’s number-10 player is nothing new. He first saw sign of it in his second game as England under-21 manager, against Finland in September 2013.

“He started on the bench which showed what we know about talent observation,” Southgate laughs. “But he came into the game as a 10. We had Saido Berahino as a 9 and he [Kane] immediately created a goal that got us an equaliser. I know there seems to be more emphasis or more spotlight on that part of.

“I know there seems to be more emphasis or more spotlight on that part of his game now but he’s definitely always had it. He’s as good a provider and as good a passer as he is a finisher and he is, of course, an outstanding finisher”

For his part, Kane has always seen himself as much a playmaker as a finisher. He is proving he has always been right on that, as he prepares for his 50th cap – likely against Belgium this Sunday.

“I mean clearly the combinations at the club with Son [Heung-Min], in particular,” Southgate says. “When you’ve got runners going beyond him, he will find the passes. So we are privileged to have him, we know that and it’s great to see him hitting that sort of form ahead of the weekend.”

Southgate at least didn’t shut down the possibility of playing his captain behind Calvert-Lewin, although he did indicate that wide players running off Kane remains his preference.

“Every country is going to play differently and have their outstanding players who have different sorts of attributes. Harry is a different type of centre-forward to [Romelu] Lukaku, for example. Different to [Olivier] Giroud or [Kylian] Mbappe, depending on who plays for France. We are just delighted we’ve got him and we know his impact. His scoring record for us is just phenomenal. Absolutely phenomenal. You always know, going into a game with the likes of Harry, with Raheem [Sterling] as well, that we’ve got tremendous goal threat now which a lot of countries would be delighted to have.”

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And they’ve now got Calvert-Lewin. His form has stayed constant, as he spoke about the variety of ways he tries to fashion goals.

“That is just part and parcel of the role I am playing. It’s to put pressure on people, make defenders make mistakes and lead the line. There are all kinds of ways to affect the game, apart from scoring goals. Putting pressure on allows the team to get up the pitch and if I can nick one, create something or score from it, then so be it. It’s just part and parcel of being a number-nine. I want to be the man that kick starts things.

“I always believed this moment would come. It was just a matter of getting a bit of momentum and a bit of confidence. You look at things that have happened: Carlo [Ancelotti] coming in, working with Dunc [Duncan Ferguson[. They have instilled that confidence in me from outside the pitch, which is perhaps what I needed. I always believe that things happen for a reason and I wouldn’t change my journey in the slightest. I am happy how it has gone and I am happy to be here now. That has made me into the person and player I am today.”

On Sunday, or maybe over the next few months, it might well see him play up top with Kane.

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