World Cup 2022: Gareth Southgate talks Harry Kane fitness and Gareth Bale brilliance ahead of Wales clash

Gareth Southgate speaks to the media at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Gareth Southgate says Harry Kane is fit to face Wales in England’s final World Cup 2022 (opens in new tab) group game and brushed away the suggestion he could rotate his team.

The old rivals face off in the final round of Group B fixtures on Tuesday, with the Welsh needing a win to have any chance of reaching the knockout stages.

Southgate’s side just need to avoid being hammered by four goals to be sure of progressing, but the idea of using the game as a chance to rest players was dismissed swiftly.

"We have 26 players, but we have a major tournament. It is not about giving caps out,” Southgate said.

"We have a brilliant group. Players will be disappointed if they're not playing and if we have other camps throughout the year, we try to give minutes when we can.

"But, in a World Cup you can't be thinking that way.”

There has been much talk about possibly benching Kane in the build-up, after the England captain suffered an ankle knock in the opening win over Iran.

"Harry's fine in terms of the knock he had, everybody keeps saying it's his ankle but it's his foot,” Southgate said.

"At this point we've got pretty much available to select from which is a great position to be it. It makes decisions difficult of course, but what you want is a fully fit squad and that's where we're at."

As for Wales, Southgate was wary of the threat poised by the likes of Gareth Bale.

"It depends a little bit on what role he plays of course, but we know he is capable of those individual moments of brilliance in and around the penalty area, as well as from distance," Southgate said.

He added: "They obviously have some world class players who can produce moments of brilliance.

"They have a good spirit and organisation and we know the quality of the Ukraine team they beat to get to these finals and they have additional motivation to play against England.

"We have to be prepared for all of those things and focus on our own performance."

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Alasdair Mackenzie is a freelance journalist based in Rome, and a FourFourTwo contributor since 2015. When not pulling on the FFT shirt, he can be found at Reuters, The Times and the i. An Italophile since growing up on a diet of Football Italia on Channel 4, he now counts himself among thousands of fans sharing a passion for Ross County and Lazio.