Harry Kane says he understands the frustration of England fans amid team’s poor form but urged supporters to reserve judgment until the World Cup.
The Three Lions’ loss to Italy on Friday night confirmed their relegation from Nations League A, leaving them winless in five games ahead of the showpiece tournament in Qatar this winter.
England have been tipped as one of the favourites for the trophy after good runs at both the 2018 World Cup and Euro 2020 but their loss of form has been startling.
“I understand the frustration of the fans,” Kane said. “I was an England fan – and I still am an England fan whether I’m playing or not. So I understand it. But ultimately we are going to be judged on what happens come November.
“If we have a successful tournament, I’m not sure people will be worried about the spell we’ve had over the summer – and that’s the bottom line. We need to improve. We know that.
“The fans are always great and stick with us. I know they will be there on Monday supporting us [against Germany] and everyone will be excited about the World Cup, regardless of what happens. Hopefully, we can repay them with some good results.”
Kane himself has endured a barren spell at international level of late, scoring just once – a penalty – in his last six games. The Three Lions have been poor in front of goal, failing to score a goal from open play in five games.
Manager Gareth Southgate has also come in for plenty of criticism during the poor run, failing to get the best out of an attack including Kane, Raheem Sterling and Phil Foden, but the Tottenham striker reiterated his support for the boss.
He added: “We’re a really strong group. We’re always honest with one another. We are always talking about how we can improve. The players are ultimately the ones on the pitch and need to take that responsibility.
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“Gareth is always there to try and do that. But we know as players that we need to do better. We’re just not quite doing the business at the moment, especially on the attacking front.
“It’s disappointing, for sure, but I’m a confident guy. I also know the strikers and attacking players here are confident players. It’s not going to affect us too much. We just need to try to turn that around, and that starts on Monday.”
England face Germany on Monday night, with their relegation from Nations League A already confirmed.