Gareth Southgate has been impressed with Harry Kane’s stint as Three Lions captain as he continues to mull over who will get the armband on a permanent basis.
Kane was named skipper for Thursday’s crucial World Cup qualifying triumph over Slovenia – a victory that confirmed England’s place at Russia 2018 – and again for Sunday’s trip to Lithuania, the Tottenham striker scoring the winning goal in both games.
Southgate is yet to appoint a permanent captain following Wayne Rooney’s retirement from international football, with Kane and Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson thought to be the favourites.
And although Southgate refused to confirm whether Kane will lead England out at next year’s World Cup, he did point out that the 24-year-old had not done his chances any harm.
“I think it’s important that he is scoring and leading from the front,” Southgate told ITV.
“We need that leadership and he has certainly impressed me with everything he has done.”
Although Kane’s first-half penalty secured the win and helped ensure England completed their qualification campaign unbeaten, it did little to paper over the cracks in what was a disappointing performance.
But Southgate believed there was a simple explanation why England may have failed to live up to pre-match expectations against a Lithuania side who have not won a competitive match since October 2016.
He said: “Put today into context; we made seven changes. That inevitably means that you will be disjointed at times.
“We haven’t scored the number of goals we would have liked to but we gave three full debuts and wanted to try something. A bit more quality in the final third is what was missing.
“They had a packed defence, we were a fraction off. Running at people on that surface doesn’t work, we needed one-twos and quick passes.
“It’s a completely different challenge against Brazil and Germany [in friendlies] next month.”