Gary Neville on Harry Kane’s England situation and Nations League

England start Nations League campaign against Spain on Saturday

Class of '92 Diary
Image: Gary Neville previews England's Nations League opener

In the latest Super 6 Class of '92 Diary, Gary Neville discusses Harry Kane's fatigue, the benefits of the Nations League and Salford's best performance yet...

Kane fatigue natural

There are questions about how fatigue will be affecting this England team after the summer, especially Harry Kane, and there will be players who might be starting to feel it now and not feeling as strong or fit.

Nations League live on Sky

Nations League live on Sky

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It's not one tournament, it's the accumulation of the physical demands where you haven't had any breaks. It usually hits you at three years without a real break and I did struggle in the 2000/01 season at the age of around 25.

I hit a wall after I'd played in Euro 1996, the Tournoi in 1997, World Cup 1998, won the 1999 treble and then we went on a summer tour and all of that took it out of me.

I think with Harry and other players who play week in week out, Saturday-Wednesday and all summer, what you would say is they continue to soldier on and maybe do dip in sharpness, but their level is still high enough to play.

Harry Kane during the Premier League match between Watford FC and Tottenham Hotspur at Vicarage Road on September 2, 2018 in Watford, United Kingdom.
Image: Harry Kane's Tottenham slipped up at Watford last weekend

There's no doubt that they need that month or two break. However, they will naturally pick up injuries which will give them that break and allow their whole body to recover.

So it is very difficult for a manager to give them a break because they look tired. Harry is playing at a high level, perhaps not at his peak, but there's no way you can rest your captain for a competitive fixture.

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Live UEFA Nations League

Historically there were times where you could do deals between club and international managers to deal with fatigue, when there were friendly games around November, but I just don't think players would want to miss these games.

Healthy competition

I think with the Nations League what we have to be is patient and accept the principle of taking the friendly element out of the game is something positive.

There's always been the excuse with friendlies and we should welcome every game actually mattering. We're seeing it at an embryonic stage but when you think about where the Champions League is compared to when it started, it has made a huge difference.

When I was part of the set up under Roy Hodgson the players always wanted to turn up. We had very few pullouts and this is a very good group of lads, they always were. It's disappointing to see a couple of pullouts but players do need a rest.

VILNIUS, LITHUANIA - OCTOBER 11:  Harry Kane and Jonjo Shelvey of England stand alongside team mates as they listen to Gary Neville during a training sessi
Image: Gary Neville praised the attitude of England players

Spain are a very difficult side to play against so it's a good game and a big game. I think England players will be bouncing into camp after they were part of something very special at the World Cup.

People can try and disregard it and question what the point is, but introducing a competitive element is so important. There were too many games that we disregarded.

What really is important is how your rankings help you towards a more comfortable draw when it comes around, so the players should absolutely be focused on winning.

Gomez ideal for Southgate system

The one player coming into the set up who I'm interested to see is Joe Gomez. I think he's started the season brilliantly and deserves the call-up.

You look at how he's fitted in and not only slotted in to cover alongside Virgil van Dijk but stood up alongside him, he's done really, really well.

Joe Gomez in action in Liverpool's 4-0 win over West Ham
Image: Joe Gomez has impressed in a central role this season

The majority of the lads from the summer are there so there's not much to suggest that changes are required, but Gomez is the one who could come in and really press his case.

Gareth Southgate played three at the back at the World Cup and Gomez looks ideal to play in that system with his mobility and experience of playing in different positions.

Salford's strongest showing

It's been a challenging start to the season but I went to Fylde with Scholesy on Tuesday night and without a shadow of a doubt it was the best performance we've seen from Salford so far.

The FA Cup win over Notts County will always be a special night but the quality of the football was a joy to watch, especially with a few players unavailable.

Tom Walker celebrates Salford's opener at Fylde
Image: Tom Walker celebrates Salford's opener at Fylde

I think Graham Alexander's words after the game were exactly right, we've set a standard that we need to maintain now.

The start of the season was a bit of a culture shock, but we're now unbeaten in five or six. It was important to win away from home because we'd struggled on the road, so that win has removed the tag that we can't win away.

Soccer Saturday Super 6 fixtures:

  • Blackpool v Bradford
  • Doncaster v Luton
  • Gillingham v AFC Wimbledon
  • Portsmouth v Shrewsbury
  • Solihull Moors v Hartlepool
  • Salford v Maidstone
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Rooney's leadership

The signings of Adam Rooney and Danny Lloyd raised a lot of eyebrows and we saw them as important acquisitions for our ambitions to keep climbing the leagues.

Rooney has hit the ground running with goals, work rate and the partnership he's formed with Rory Gaffney, and we're expecting a lot from Lloyd following his suspension.

Adam Rooney has found the net seven times this season
Image: Adam Rooney has found the net seven times this season

The thing for me so far about Adam was not just the goals, but he sets the example in the way he leads the line, hunting down the ball and showing fantastic attitude, which is why Graham handed him the armband.

Then we've got young players who really settled in such as Ibou Touray, Mark Shelton, Nick Haughton, Tom Walker, so the players from last year are stepping up and the new signings are hitting top form. We're in a far more positive place now.

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