Harry Kane says England must be 'braver' after Under-21 exit

Southgate's team lost 3-1 to Italy, finishing bottom of their group

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The Independent Football

Harry Kane says that England must learn to be “braver” in dealing with the pressure of tournament football if they are to be successful in the future, after the Under-21s crashed out of the European championships at the group stage last night.

Gareth Southgate’s team lost 3-1 to Italy, finishing bottom of their group, having conceded two critical first half goals in the space of a minute to Andrea Belotti and Marco Benassi. The midfielder Benassi scored a third in the second half before Nathan Redmond scored only the second goal in three games for England in the 90thminute.

Kane, 21, who has not scored in three games in the Czech Republic, said that he believed England could still win a tournament in his lifetime. “Sometimes, we have to be braver,” he said. “Just a bit more ruthless and clinical. We could have done better in their box and a bit better in our box too.

“There are a few things in all three games that we could have done better. I don't think we reached our top form and we got punished. It hurts now and we have to see what we could have done better and learn from it.”

Asked whether he could see a senior England team winning a trophy in his lifetime – the Under-21s were last European champions in 1984 – Kane said he believed that could happen. “I believe that. That is always the aim, the dream to lift a trophy for England and it still is. No-one can say we don't have the ability. We have amazing young talent coming through. Amazing talent in the senior squad. It is just putting the dots together during a tournament and seeing what happens.

“We have to forget about the pressure and expectation. We have to do what we do in qualification and not falter in the groups. That happens over a period of time and hopefully we can get it right next summer [at Euro 2016].”

Kane, who will no longer be eligible for Under-21s football, said that the players had faith in Gareth Southgate, who says that he wants to continue in the job. "I think he has done a great job,” Kane said. “All the lads have been right behind him. He picked the players he thought were the best players and that's it. I don't think anyone has let him down, it just periods and patches over the three games that have kind of not gone our way.”             

Southgate’s concern is that too few Under-21s players has experience of big Champions League games – in fact only Carl Jenkinson has played at that level.“Champions League and Europa League are great European experience,” Kane said. “That doesn't change the fact that there are a lot of senior players who have Champions League experience. It is something that has to change. We have to be more ruthless in tournaments and forget about the pressure and go for it.”

The Tottenham striker said that there was no chance of him missing the start of the season for his club. "I'll be fine,” he said. “I'll probably take a couple of weeks off, try to refresh as much as possible but I'll be straight back into pre-season and ready for the start of the season."