If there was one downside for England to their thrashing of Iran, it was news of a potential injury to their captain.
Harry Kane took a heavy knock on the right ankle during the Three Lions’ 6-2 success in their opening Group B game on Monday.
And, though he lasted until the 75th minute after sustaining the blow, it appears that Kane may have felt the after-effects a little longer than advertised.
Here’s what you need to know about Kane’s status ahead of Friday’s game vs. USA.
What is Harry Kane’s injury?
Kane went down in the 48th minute of England’s clash with Iran after defender Morteza Pouraliganji took him down with a crunching tackle.
Kane lasted until the 75th minute before being replaced by Newcastle striker Callum Wilson. After the game, he was seen walking around the stadium with a slight limp and light strapping on his left ankle.
While there didn’t appear to be much initial concern about Kane’s status at the time, he did undergo further examination to determine just how severe the issue was.
But Gareth Southgate has now alleviated fears over the seriousness of the blow, and intimated his striker will start against the United States.
“Harry is fine. He has worked slightly separately from the group but all good for Friday night,” he told BBC Sport.
“He had a scan (on Wednesday) to make sure everything is fine.”
England striker replacement options
Should Kane’s involvement against the USA be limited, it would throw a spanner into the works given just how reliant Southgate’s system is on its No. 9.
Still, the Three Lions are spoilt for choice in attacking areas, lessening the need to get 90 minutes out of their main striker.
Wilson came on for Kane against Iran and has been in sizzling form in the league, bagging six goals and two assists in 11 appearances for the Magpies. He doesn’t offer the physicality or all-around play that Kane does, but few players do. And given the amount of creativity flowing through England’s front three, it seems reasonable to believe that the Newcastle striker can slot into the central striker position and cause some issues.
He also set up England’s sixth goal against the Iranians, showcasing the sort of playmaking that could make him an enticing option.
Rashford’s versatility — he’s shown a penchant for playing as both a wide forward and central striker in the past — could make him an appealing option for Southgate. He’s blessed with top-level pace, the sort of speed that could make a real difference, especially if the Americans choose to persist with the back-line pairing of Tim Ream and Walker Zimmermann.
Rashford is also in form, having slotted away calmly for England’s fifth goal against Iran.
Much like Rashford, Sterling has starred in both the wide and central role at different points in his career. He’s also coming off an impressive display in England’s World Cup opener, having notched a goal and assist against the Iranians.
Sterling has a history of strong displays in international competition — he was arguably England’s most important player in its run to the European Championship finals in 2021. Whether or not he fills in for Kane up top, expect Sterling to be called upon to carry on the brunt of the Three Lions’ attacking threat.