Euro 2016: Should Harry Kane really be taking England's corners?


Plenty of fans and pundits were left baffled as England employed Harry Kane as their corner taker in their Euro 2016 opener.

All six of England's corners in their opening tie with Russia were taken by Kane, the Tottenham striker who scored 27 goals in the most recent season.

Former captain Alan Shearer compared the tactic to Lewis Hamilton being asked to change his own tyres, while fans questioned why the likes of Adam Lallana and Wayne Rooney had not been assigned the role by boss Roy Hodgson.

Has Kane taken a corner before?

Graphic showing ENgland's most prolific corner takers

The short answer is yes. The longer response is yes, but rarely so. In the 2015-16 season, Kane took seven out of the 254 corners Tottenham won, just 2.75%. On free-kicks, he took six out of 500, an even lower 1.2%.

What are England missing out on with Kane on set-pieces?

Harry Kane heads at goal while playing for Tottenham

Kane scored just one header for Spurs from 13 attempts in the 2015-16 season, although the year before he got five from 17. So he clearly has an aerial threat, but scaled that down in the most recent campaign by developing a more all-round game.

Should Rooney be given the job?

Wayne Rooney takes a corner for England

Plenty have called for Rooney to take over from Kane, especially given his drop back into midfield. However, he too is hardly in the groove of delivering set-pieces.

Rooney took only five corners for Manchester United all season, 2.19% of their overall 228, while he did take slightly more free-kicks with 35 out of 428.

So who else could take them?

The most prolific set-piece taker in the England squad is James Milner, who played six minutes and 38 seconds of the Russia game. He took 116 of 265 corners during the recent season for Liverpool, which was the fifth-highest total in the Premier League. Adam Lallana, who Shearer cited as an option, took 20 for the Reds.

What are the other nations doing?

Dimitri Payet playing for France

Dimitri Payet took the most corners in the Premier League last season, delivering the ball 159 times. France wisely made use of his abilities, getting him to take all five of their corners in their opener with Romania.

Mesut Ozil took 144 for Arsenal but only one for Germany on Sunday, the world champions opting for another specialist in the shape of Toni Kroos.