Should Harry Kane earn his U21 spurs this summer?

Back in August, Harry Kane may have been sweating on his involvement at the 2015 European Under 21 Championship.

He knew he needed game time in order to nail down a spot in Gareth Southgate’s side and put himself in contention for a working vacation in the Czech Republic.

Now, the Tottenham Hotspur striker suddenly finds himself at the centre of an international tug-of-war.

Any early-season fears that he would be stuck in the shadows at White Hart Lane and possibly forced to look for another short-term loan spell have been blown out of the water by his exploits in domestic and continental competition.

His efforts in the Europa League helped to position him in Mauricio Pochettino’s thoughts, with the Premier League gates thrown open once the key was turned in the lock.

Kane has, without question, been THE breakout performer in 2014/15, with it remarkable to think that a man with just 14 top-flight appearances and three goals to his name prior to this season has now found the target 16 times among English football’s elite and 26 times in total.

It is those efforts, though, which have sparked a lively debate regarding where he goes from here.

Roy Hodgson has hinted at both selecting and overlooking Kane in his next senior England squad, with the Three Lions readying themselves for a Euro 2016 qualifier with Lithuania and an international friendly date with Italy at the end of March.

It is difficult to see how Hodgson could justify snubbing the Spurs hit-man, with problems in the past caused by a reluctance to pick those in form and sticking stubbornly with the old guard.

It is, however, looking past those fixtures and towards the summer that the bigger questions arise.

England will be in action again in June, against Republic of Ireland and Slovenia, but will Kane be otherwise engaged around that time?

A man with ten U21 caps to his name, and a key figure under Southgate, would be expected to lead the line for the Young Lions as they go in pursuit of international glory – regardless of where he stands in the senior set-up.

Kane has experienced tournament football in the past, at U19 and U20 events, but this is another step up in class and a great opportunity to ready the stars of tomorrow for World Cup and European Championship campaigns to come.

Not everyone sees it that way, though.

Jan Vertonghen, Kane’s teammate in north London, thinks the 21-year-old should be rested this summer. Meanwhile, national newspapers have suggested that Spurs are seeking ‘urgent’ talks with the FA regarding their intentions.

Hodgson, though, has been quick to talk up the benefits of tournament competition and former U21 boss Stuart Pearce is another very much in the ‘Kane must go’ camp – having experienced first-hand how difficult it can be to bring the cream of England’s young talent together at one time and place.

In many ways it is difficult to argue against his inclusion. The U21 Championship begins three days after England face Slovenia, a contest that could see his season extended anyway. There is also a case for saying that Hodgson does not need to have Kane at his disposal, with the Three Lions now odds-on in international football betting markets to reach France 2016 and give a good account of themselves on the other side of the Channel.

Would Kane get more out of two end-of-season kickabouts with the senior squad, or competitive action with the U21s? The answer seems fairly obvious.


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