Gareth Southgate confirms Harry Kane will start for England v Czech Republic

England's Harry Kane shakes hands with manager Gareth Southgate after being substituted during the Scotland match on June 18. Credit: PA

Harry Kane has always been the first name on Gareth Southgate’s team-sheet.

Why anyone would think that was going to change on Tuesday against the Czech Republic is beyond me.

When you analyse the service he’s been getting and England’s lack of speed going forward, it’s hardly surprising Kane isn’t off the mark yet. 

Yes, Kane has not been at his dangerous best over the first two games in this tournament but how much of that is actually down to the Spurs’ striker himself?

It is a question Gareth Southgate seems to have answered already by confirming Kane will lead England out on Tuesday.

Sticking with his man is the easy part for Southgate, it’s how he completes the rest of the jigsaw that is fascinating.

England manager Gareth Southgate (right) and assistant Steve Holland during the training session at Hotspur Way Training Ground on Sunday. Credit: PA

Pickford will be in goal of course and Kane starts up top, but what to do in between?

Southgate is spoilt for choice, which has not always been the case for his predecessors; going back decades more often than not England’s starting line-up largely picks itself.

Does he stick with four at the back and if he does, will he bring in fit again Harry Maguire?

That would be more than tough on Tyrone Mings who has excelled so far and would come with a degree of risk because Maguire might well be over his injury but he certainly can’t be match fit.

What the Manchester United captain does give Southgate is a centre back who has the confidence and ability to carry the ball forward.

That helps disrupt the opposition’s defensive patterns as they’re drawn towards him when he ventures upfield.

If Southgate stays with ‘a four’, what of the full backs? He has plenty to choose from, so will he change them again?

Against Scotland, Shaw and James seemed reluctant to push too far forward, too often. Were they following instructions?

But, in reality, whatever tinkering the England manager does at the back it’s further forward where the really difficult decisions lie.

Should he play both Phillips and Rice?

Have Sterling and Foden done enough to keep their places or should Grealish get a start? If so at whose expense?

Will we see Sancho anytime soon?

Would Kane benefit from having Calvert-Lewin alongside him?

There are many questions to ponder.

Ex-England footballer Emile Heskey says the team can do more to get the best out of Harry Kane

Most England fans will accept what Southgate decides but what they will struggle with is another lacklustre performance.

England cooked up an unimaginative spaghetti bolognese last week against Scotland and they are of course capable of serving up something far more ambitious and exciting, but they opted for safety first.

They were unusually pedestrian, one paced and any urgency was absent. It was easy to defend against.

When you have the explosive talent that Southgate has at his disposal it’s not asking too much to see it unleashed.