Luke Shaw has hailed England captain Harry Kane as the “best striker in the world” and insists his goalless start to Euro 2020 should not be a concern.
Kane has been largely anonymous in England’s opening two Group D clashes and was substituted off in both the win over Croatia and Friday’s goalless draw with Scotland.
Having won the golden boot at the 2018 World Cup and ended the last Premier League season as the division’s top scorer, Kane’s pedigree is not in question.
But, in dropping deep to get more involved in the play, he has not had a presence in the opposition box in either game at the European Championship.
Asked if he was worried about Kane’s performances, left-back Shaw replied: “No concern at all, for me personally I think he is the best striker in the world.
“He is a very important part of the team, in fact the most important part. I think whether he has not been at his best or not he is a massive part and a crucial player for us.
“We need him whether his performances are as people expected or not, but this happens in tournament football, you can score a goal at any moment and he is such a crucial player – not just on the pitch but off the pitch, he has got all of our backing and I’m not worried at all.”
England now need to beat the Czech Republic on Tuesday night to qualify as group winners, although only an unlikely sequence of results would see Gareth Southgate’s men eliminated from the competition.
Shaw, who was one of two players to come into the side against Scotland, admits it was a poor evening for the Three Lions but is already looking ahead to the Czech fixture.
“There is no denying that there is a lot of disappointment,” added the Manchester United defender.
“We would have liked to win the game but you have to look at it in the way of another point in the right direction.
“If it was the other way round, we drew with Croatia and won today it would have been four points still so we have to keep positive.
“I think there should always be expectation, the team we have, the talent is very strong. Of course we can take the expectation but maybe it (the Scotland result) brought us back down to earth to make us realise it is not going to be easy.
“Our aim is to be here for seven games. We will sit down and watch the game back and analyse what we want to do better because there are things we could have done better as a team.
“Maybe in this game we weren’t at our best and that shows, but it is another clean sheet. We still have another big game on Tuesday and we have to forget about this one and be ready.”