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England captain Kane to miss Brazil clash

England captain Harry Kane will miss Saturday’s friendly against Brazil and is “extremely doubtful” to face Belgium next week.

Kane suffered an ankle injury playing for Bayern Munich in their 5-2 win over Darmstadt last weekend and will not be risked for the meeting with Brazil at Wembley.

The former Tottenham striker also faces the possibility of missing Tuesday’s friendly against Belgium at Wembley

That will be the final match before England boss Gareth Southgate names his Euro 2024 squad, although Kane has no worries about his place on the flight to Germany in June.

Ajax midfielder Jordan Henderson and Chelsea forward Cole Palmer remain with the England squad, but they are also sidelined by injuries for the sold-out clash against the Selecao.

Arsenal forward Bukayo Saka withdrew from Southgate’s squad due to injury on Thursday.

“Tomorrow no Harry Kane, no Jordan Henderson, no Cole Palmer,” England boss Southgate said.

“I would say Cole and Hendo have a better chance of Belgium than Harry. He’d be extremely doubtful for that.”

Kane’s absence is a blow but Ollie Watkins and Ivan Toney now have a chance to stake their claim for the role as Euro understudy to England’s record goal-scorer.

Watkins has scored three goals in nine internationals, while Toney’s one England appearance came off the bench against Ukraine this time last year.

The Brentford striker began an eight-month Football Association ban shortly after and was recalled at the first opportunity.

‘Big opportunity’

“Well, that is a decision we will have to make because clearly a nine is a specialist position,” Southgate said when asked how many strikers he would take to the Euros.

“They have different attributes and that would depend a little bit on injury status in other positions in the squad and also having perhaps players that can play more than one role.

“I think both of them are aware that the opportunity is a big one. But they’re both in good form, they’ve both had time with us.

“Ollie’s been with us more recently, of course, and has done well in the games he’s played. He’s had a fabulous season for his club.

“Ivan since he’s come back into Brentford’s team has had the impact we expected him to, so they are two very good players.”

Despite the absentees, England are favourites to beat rebuilding Brazil in their first match under head coach Dorival Junior.

The Selecao have won 10 of their last 11 friendlies against European opposition but are looking to avoid losing four matches in a row since 2001.

“I’m reading that we’ve only beaten Brazil four times out of 26 games, something like that,” Southgate said.

“There are lots of matches against big opponents that we don’t have outstanding records against that this team have managed to beat – Italy twice being an example, Spain.

“So, it’s another opportunity for us to put a marker down, create a little bit more history for these boys.

“But also we’re going to be tested in every aspect of our game, and that’s going to be a great challenge for us.”

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