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England captain Kane hits back at former players' criticism

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BLANKENHEIM, England (AP) — Harry Kane says former England stars should remember how hard it is to play for their country before criticizing the team’s lackluster performances so far at Euro 2024.

“I always feel like they have a responsibility," the England captain said at the team’s training camp on Sunday. "I know they have got to be honest and give their opinion but also they have a responsibility of being an ex-England player that a lot of players look up to, that people do listen to them and people do care what they say.”

Kane was responding to strong criticism from former England internationals Gary Lineker and Alan Shearer among others after England’s 1-0 win over Serbia and a 1-1 draw with Denmark. Lineker, who scored 48 goals in 80 games for England, had described the draw against Denmark with an expletive and said Kane “needs to do a lot better” despite scoring England's opener.

Kane, who scored 36 goals in 32 Bundesliga appearances for Bayern Munich last season, said he never wants “to be disrespectful to any player, especially a player who has worn the shirt and knows what it is like to play for England,” but, “the bottom line is we haven’t won anything as a nation for a long, long time and a lot of these players were part of that as well and they know how tough it is.”

The England men’s team hasn’t won a major tournament since the 1966 World Cup.

Despite the criticism, England is top of Group C at Euro 2024 with four points ahead of its final group game against Slovenia in Cologne on Tuesday.

“It’s not a time to panic,” Kane said.

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AP Euro 2024: https://apnews.com/hub/euro-2024