(Reuters) - The experienced members of England’s World Cup squad must step up and take some of the pressure off captain Harry Kane to let the striker focus on scoring goals in Russia, defender Gary Cahill has said.
Kane captained England in three of their eight World Cup qualifiers and has been handed the role for Russia where the 24-year-old will also be expected to help fire the side into the knockout stages.
“It’s important the experienced members of the squad help him so he can concentrate on finding the net,” Cahill told Standard Sport.
“The message has been clear from the manager that he wants a number of leaders ... He wanted that group of leaders to help and share the workload.
“I’m there to help. I’m not there to preach to anyone, but I have experience of playing in big games. If people want to speak to me and likewise me with other people, the group is very tight in that way and everyone is approachable... “
Uncapped goalkeeper Nick Pope said the closeness of Gareth Southgate’s squad was helping him develop.
“We get on really well and we’re pushing each other every day which is what is best for the team,” Pope was quoted as saying by the Burnley Express.
“Training each day is hard but we’re pushing each other and that’s the way it should be.
“It’s been on another level and it doesn’t get any harder than England. To be in and around this level, it’s great for me.”
England have been drawn in Group G along with Belgium, Panama and Tunisia at the finals. The open their campaign against the North Africans on June 18.
Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford