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Graeme Le Saux: Right time for Kane armband but captaincy needs rotating

Graeme Le Saux expects Gareth Southgate to be celebrating again on Thursday night
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Betfair Ambassador Graeme Le Saux gives his thoughts on Harry Kane being handed the England armband and previews tonight's encounter at Wembley...

"If England can dominate the early part of the game, regardless of whether they score, play with a high intensity and keep the pressure on Slovenia, they’ll wear them down eventually. Very much as they did in the second-half of the Slovakia game."

England v Slovenia
World Cup Group F Qualifier
Thursday, 19:45
Live on ITV


The obvious place to start is with Harry Kane being handed the armband for this fixture, and it's great to see that he's been rightfully rewarded with the England captaincy for his exceptional recent performances.

What I would say though is that if I was in Gareth's shoes I'd rotate the captaincy until you get into the final phases of preparation for the World Cup. Players, as we know, come in and out of form, get injured or suspended, and boxing yourself in with a permanent England captain prior to a major tournament creates unnecessary media pressure.

Football is a very different beast these days and there could be multiple club captains within an England side that aren't necessarily the England captain. It's something which should be symbolic, but doesn't mean that anyone in the team around you is any less deserving.

Dele Alli's absence through suspension will be a real loss to the side on Thursday night, he has a unique way of playing that makes him both unpredictable and audacious. He has spatial awareness that opens teams up and at international level that becomes even more of an asset. Effectively because chances become even more limited and defences are harder to break down, as we've seen in the games against both Malta and Slovakia. I don't expect Slovenia to be any different.

In his absence, I'm pleased Harry Winks has been called up as they hold him in high regard at Spurs. Equally it's ideal for England to have a club that can provide them with a number of players that already have a bond and an understanding of playing together.

In terms of how I expect this to play out, Slovenia come to Wembley really needing three points and with that in mind they'll have to start quickly. They'll take a lot from Slovakia's opening 20 minutes against England where they caused them real problems.

I'm sure they'll look to operate a similar game plan, out-numbering Southgate's men in midfield, hoping to grab a goal and hold on; it'll be pivotal for England to learn from their mistakes in the first half against Slovakia.

In turn if England can dominate the early part of the game, regardless of whether they score, play with a high intensity and keep the pressure on Slovenia, they'll wear them down eventually. Very much as they did in the second-half of the Slovakia game. Given how uncomfortable that was for them at times I expect Gareth to have them well drilled for this and I think they'll win comfortably by a few goals.


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