England must make a statement against Slovakia as GarethSouthgate’s side lurch towards 2018 World Cup qualification.

The Three Lions laboured to a 4-0 victory in Malta on Friday night, with three late goals sugar-coating a poor display in which Southgate’s side threatened to throw away a routine result.

England still sit top of Group F, and a Wembley win over second-placed Slovakia tonight would all but secure qualification for Russia next summer – but fans expect imagination as well as industry.

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Kane the King of Wembley?

With England in desperate need of a performance to dazzle those in the stands at Wembley this evening, can Gareth Southgate trust Harry Kane to put his Tottenham struggles behind him and impress on the big stage?
Standard Sport’s Tony Evans certainly thinks so…
Wembley is the home of football. It is the place where every player dreams of excelling. Most will never set foot on the legendary turf and those who do are determined to relish the experience. That creates pressure for those who have to play home games there.
England have long suffered from this syndrome. Those who say the Three Lions shirt is too heavy often overlook the emotional effect the ground has on the away team.
Harry Kane has the misfortune to have Wembley as his home ground at club and international level this year. If ever there was a player built to deal with this burden, it is the Tottenham Hotspur forward.
The 24-year-old is emerging as a real leader. He is part of an England side that was booed at half-time in the 4-0 victory over Malta but he handled the aftermath beautifully. Kane acknowledged the side’s flaws, defended his team-mates and took a relaxed attitude to ending his scoring drought.
The Spurs striker has a mental strength that is reminiscent of Alan Shearer. He will hold colleagues to account for poor performances but only after he is satisfied that his own efforts have been at the highest standards.
Kane can give the England boo-boys a smile tonight against Slovakia. It is even more important that he quickly ends any thoughts of a Wembley hoodoo for Tottenham, especially with Borussia Dortmund due in town next week in the Champions League. He is equipped to do it.
Even during the Premier League defeat by Chelsea and the draw with Burnley, Kane looked like the home of football is the sort of accommodation where he will settle nicely over the next few months.
Wembley is a big stage but the Tottenham man is made for it. England and Spurs should be grateful for their resident superstar.

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