The performances of Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane at Euro 2020 were key to England reaching a first tournament final since 1966.
With the duo scoring a combined seven of the side’s 11 goals and forming an excellent on-field partnership, Manchester City fans got a glimpse of what they could see on a more regular basis, should the Blues sign the striker this summer.
The pair started all seven of England’s games, with Kane up front as a number nine and Sterling largely on the left wing.
What was evident from the groups games, in which Sterling scored both of England’s goals, was the way in which Kane created space for Sterling to run into the box and finish off chances.
In the opening game against Croatia it was Kane who dragged the centre-back away from the central area, creating a pocket for the City man to latch onto Kalvin Phillips’ through ball and strike.
Against the Czech Republic, it was Kane dropping out of the box to lay the ball out wide that allowed Sterling to find space at the back post and head home Jack Grealish’s cross.
England’s goal-scoring fortunes improved in the knockout rounds, and again Kane and Sterling played pivotal roles.
Raheem Sterling celebrates scoring against Germany at Euro 2020
The opening goal in the 2-0 win against Germany saw Kane receive the ball at the edge of the area with his back to goal, lay the ball out wide and let Sterling occupy the front post zone of the six-yard box, where he tapped home another Grealish cross.
In the semi-final dispatch of Demark, Kane showed his midfielder-like passing ability.
Dropping deep to receive the ball to feet, he took one touch to control and turn before sliding an inch-perfect pass down the channel to the on-rushing Bukayo Saka.
In doing so he gave Sterling license to make the run of a number nine, and that’s exactly what he did before converting Saka’s low cross.
Images by Wyscout, analysis by Alex Brotherton
Over the past couple of years, dropping deep to receive the ball and play others in on goal has become a trademark of Kane’s game. It has certainly worked to great effect at Spurs, with Son Heung-min recording his best Premier League goals tally last season thanks to his link-up with the England man.
Of Son’s 17 league goals last season, Kane assisted nine. Despite usually lining up as a left winger, Son got into plenty of goal scoring positions due to Kane vacating the ‘striker’ zone and providing quality assists.
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As well as being one of the deadliest finishers and poachers around, Harry Kane is without doubt one of the Premier League’s best creators,
His totals of 23 goals and 14 assists were the best in the league last campaign, while only Bruno Fernandes bettered Kane’s 25 goal-creating actions.
As we all know, Sterling has been one of Pep Guardiola’s star men in recent years. But football is all about change and evolution, and the signing of Kane would do just that.
If Sterling does get to team up with Kane at club level, then expect their summer bromance to blossom once more.
Do you reckon Sterling and Kane could recreate their England connection at City? Follow our new City Fan Brands Writer Alex Brotherton on Twitter to get involved in the discussion and give us your thoughts in the comments section below.