After England’s poor performance, Pep Guardiola was right not to pay Harry Kane’s big sum.

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Manchester City were linked with a move for Harry Kane in the summer but refused to stump up Tottenham’s huge £150m demands.

could be forgiven for breathing a huge sigh of relief on Tuesday night. Imagine if he’s paid £160m for a striker to fit in alongside , Phil Foden, , Kyle Walker and John Stones who had served up the performance produced at Wembley.

For once, the England captain carried his club form into his international game – and that has to get Gareth Southgate thinking, too.

Although the England manager refused after the game to answer the question that is slowly rearing its head.

Should Kane still be an automatic choice when it comes to the opening game of the 2022 World Cup?

“We’ve got competition for places in every position on the pitch and we need that,” Southgate said instead. “I remember when I first took over, we didn’t have Harry for the first couple of camps.

“We do need that competition. There have been a lot of occasions where players have been playing at their very best and different occasions when players might be going through dips.”

Undoubtedly, this is one of those rare periods for Kane.

From his failure to convert Luke Shaw’s early cross to his wayward header from the resulting corner and his shanked volley high and wide when picked out at the far post, he was out of sorts.

With England chasing a win, he was taken off by Southgate and replaced by Tammy Abraham.

Yet more wait in the wings ready to stake a claim for that no. 9 position.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin, when fit, has never let England down and Mason Greenwood is likely to be involved next month against Albania and San Marino.

But it is Marcus Rashford – back scoring after surgery in a behind-closed-doors game with Manchester United – who is best equipped to challenge Kane for his position.

He turns 24 later this month and that is the age when Kane’s international career really caught alight with a string of goals starting against Scotland and France that led all the way to the 2018 World Cup Golden Boot.

His 12 goals for England before his 24th birthday compare favourably to Kane’s eight.

And next month is an important one to have a front line that is really firing on all cylinders.

Southgate. “Brinkwire Summary News”.

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