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Southgate is set to keep faith with Kane as England captain

 

By Simon Peach

Harry Kane will keep the captain's armband for England's season-ending friendly in France, where Tom Heaton and Jack Butland will play instead of under-scrutiny Joe Hart.

Fresh from Saturday's frantic World Cup qualifying draw against old foes Scotland, the Three Lions have returned to the country that last year witnessed one of their lowest moments.

Bowing out of Euro 2016 to Iceland still sticks in the craw and has seen manager Southgate attempt to bring leadership to a group that was lacking just that in Nice. Kane became the fifth different captain in seven matches in the 2-2 draw at Hampden Park and will lead again in tonight's friendly in France.

"I am not committing to a timescale on that," Southgate said after being asked when a permanent captain would be named.

"I think it has been a good experience to develop other leaders.

"We're seeing that not only in terms of responsibility but the way the group are prepared to contribute when we're discussing games, when we're reviewing games.

"But I am not in a rush to make that decision.

"I think at some point it is probably something we should do - in fact, I am certain it is something we should do - but I think it has been good to devolve the leadership."

Southgate was also keen to underline that Hart's absence from the starting line-up was not a knee-jerk reaction to his display in Scotland.

Burnley goalkeeper Heaton will be rewarded with his first international start at the Stade de France, where Stoke's Butland will play the second half having not represented his country since suffering an ankle injury against Germany 444 days ago.

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