I’m really pleased Harry Kane has been declared fit for England to face the United States but we have to look after him – and Gareth Southgate could still turn to Marcus Rashford to lead the line if he does not want to risk his captain.
Kane has been able to train after suffering an ankle injury in our 6-2 win over Iran, and a scan showed there is no serious damage, but it was a reminder we must think about who would replace him in Qatar if needed – and I am happy with our options.
The most obvious Plan B is to put Newcastle striker Callum Wilson up front, because he plays down the middle for his club and he can play at least part of the provider role that Kane does so well.
I was so pleased with Wilson’s decision to pass to Jack Grealish for our final goal on Monday rather than have a shot himself, and that is the kind of collective thinking that Southgate will love.
If he thinks we need a kind of backboard against the US or any other side – a player for us to feed so he can play in other people – then Wilson is the best man for the job.
I still think Rashford will get the nod if Kane is rested on Friday, however. From what we know about Southgate’s managerial style, there is a pecking order in his squad based on players he trusts.
We have seen that with his selection of people such as Raheem Sterling and Mason Mount, and Bukayo Saka also comes into that category now – if he is fit, he starts. It is the same with players who are outside his first-choice XI too.
With what Rashford has done for England in the past, and the goals he has scored, he is probably ahead of Wilson, who has only just returned to the squad after a three-year absence.
We know Rashford is more effective in a wide position, and prefers to play on the left of Manchester United’s attack, but his pace is still a threat down the middle.
I have confidence in him and Wilson, so I honestly don’t think it matters too much who is our centre-forward against the US – we should win anyway – but we will definitely need Kane when we face tougher opposition.
He has been criticised for dropping deep for England in the past but we saw against Iran just how well it suits our system, with runners going beyond him and down both flanks. Neither Wilson nor Rashford can do exactly what he does.
Some of Kane’s crosses against Iran were so good, he reminded me of David Beckham, who provided the best deliveries into the box of anyone I saw during my playing days.
The one he put in for Sterling was on the same level as Becks at his best, so fingers crossed he is OK for the rest of the tournament.