Jun 20, 2016

    Vardy backs Kane to earn his Euro spurs


    ENGLAND take on Slovakia tonight in the key battle for first place in Group B at Euro 2016 with manager Roy Hodgson mulling over which of his strikers to deploy.

    Jamie Vardy and Daniel Sturridge came off the bench to dig England out of trouble in their 2-1 win over Wales in Lens. Hodgson has an embarrassment of riches up front but Harry Kane, who started in the 1-1 draw against Russia and win over Wales, has struggled to make an impact in France.

    Vardy's equaliser against Wales cancelled out Gareth Bale's thunderbolt free-kick before Sturridge broke Welsh hearts with the late winner.

    Leicester City's Vardy said he would be content with another cameo off the bench.

    "We'll have to wait till Monday what team the boss puts out and hopefully we can get the job done," he added.

    Kane's lack of form in France has been attributed to his efforts for Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League title race.

    He played 5,092 minutes of football in the past year, compared with 3,707 for Vardy and 1,812 for Sturridge.

    But Vardy is backing his rival to prove his form on the Euro 2016 stage.

    "He (Kane) doesn't seem tired, I'm sure he'll want to keep starting and hopefully get on that goal run," he said.

    Victory over the Welsh on Thursday left England top of the group with four points.

    But with both Wales and Slovakia on three points, nothing is decided going into the final round of matches.

    History favours the Three Lions who have won all their three previous meetings but Martin Skrtel's Slovakia are eyeing an upset.

    The Slovakia captain could well face his Liverpool team-mate Sturridge at Saint-Etienne's Stade Geoffroy-Guichard.

    One man does not make a team but Napoli attacking midfielder Marek Hamsik is the lynchpin in Slovakia's attack.

    There is so much hype around Hamsik back home that Slovakian newspaper Novy Cas insists he is better than Portugal's superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.

    Hamsik proved how crucial he is to his side's chances of reaching the knock-out stages with a superb goal in their 2-1 win over Russia.

    He hopes for more of the same against the Three Lions.

    "It was a beautiful moment. I watched it about 20 times later. It truly filled me with joy," said the 28-year-old of his goal against Russia.


    Tonight's fixtures


    Russia v Wales

    Slovakia v England

    (Both ties at 2.50am)