The 27-year-old managed just one shot in the whole game, missing a great chance at the back post to double the Three Lions’ lead from Mason Mount’s cross after Raheem Sterling had put them ahead.
Midfielder Jude Bellingham, 17, replaced the Tottenham striker with eight minutes of the 90 remaining, with former forward Alan Shearer commenting after the game that Kane looked ‘a little bit slow’ in England’s Group D opener.
Harry Kane (left) is not the same player at Euro 2020 as he was at the 2018 World Cup, Jamie Carragher (right) insists
Kane was substituted by Gareth Southgate on a frustrating afternoon for him against Croatia
Kane starred at the last major tournament England were involved in, scoring six times at the 2018 World Cup to win the Golden Boot in a pursuit of goals Carragher described as ‘single-minded’.
But the ex-England defender believes that Kane is not the same striker that starred in Russia three years ago, and insists he must accept he is not exempt from being taken off by Southgate.
‘Kane barely featured in the victory and looked exhausted,’ Carragher wrote in his column for The Telegraph.
‘Brave as it seems for an England manager to substitute his captain, it was the right and obvious call.
He missed a chance at the back post to double the lead following Raheem Sterling’s opener
‘This may become the new reality for Kane. England can get the most from him with a premeditated plan, demanding he give everything for 65-70 minutes before being replaced by fresh legs.
‘The days of keeping him on the pitch so he can make the most of every minute in pursuit of the Golden Boot are over.
‘Whatever approach Gareth Southgate takes – and whatever happens for the rest of the tournament – we must adjust to the fact that this is not the same Kane who went to the 2018 World Cup in Russia and fulfilled his ambition to be the leading goalscorer. More importantly, the England captain must accept that, too.’
Carragher’s comments differ to a certain extent from his former England team-mate Frank Lampard, who insisted Kane’s lethargic performance should not be of concern to England.
Kane won the Golden Boot at the World Cup three years ago with six goals in the tournament
‘I would not worry about Harry Kane, he is our man,’ Lampard said. ‘Save one today, the team played really well, there will be a really positive feel about the group.
‘Harry Kane will deliver when it comes.’
Asked if there were any negatives from England’s point of view, ex-England forward Shearer said: ‘Only possibly Harry Kane, he looked a little bit slow, that ball that came across I was expecting him to put it away.
‘But England with playing well did not create that many chances for him to get on the end of, but other than Harry Kane everyone looked really sharp.’
Southgate praised Kane’s performance, stating: ‘I think he led the line really well. It was a game where he had to take a lot of physical buffeting. A lot of the game for him today was to link and create spaces, which he did for the goal, to let others play.’
Southgate however insisted that his No 9 had led the line well at Wembley Stadium
‘There are days when chances will fall to him but today he was really tightly marked by their team. They know what a threat he is, and he was crowded out.
‘I’ve not seen his chance at far post yet to see how good a chance that was. But he brings so much more to our team than the goals.’
Kane scored 23 Premier League goals for Spurs in the 2020-21 season to go with 14 assists, with both returns the most of any player in the top flight last season.
Shearer insisted growing speculation around his club future would not be affecting him at Euro 2020, as links with a mega-money move to Manchester City continue.
Frank Lampard (left) insists Kane’s display is not a worry, but Alan Shearer (right) admitted he looked ‘slow’