Harry Kane slams 'weaker mentality' in England after jibes
LONDON -- Tottenham's Harry Kane has accused English football of having a weak mentality after he was mocked by the Football Association on Twitter.
Kane, who is expected to captain England at the World Cup, described English football's tendency to turn on its own players as "strange" and suggested it was a defence mechanism in case the team underperforms in another major tournament this summer.
"The FA tweet was a silly -- we all know that," Kane said. "I talked to the gaffer [Mauricio Pochettino] about it and he was saying, 'Would other countries do that to their own players?' Probably not."
His comments come after weeks of flak from fans, ex-players and fellow professionals -- including England teammates -- for claiming a goal from teammate Christian Eriksen in Spurs' win at Stoke, before the FA wrote to both clubs to apologise for a tweet mocking him after Spurs' FA Cup semifinal defeat to Manchester United.
Kane's Spurs teammate Alli, perceived by some as a diver, has been booed at almost every away ground this season while Sterling's form and private life have been intensely scrutinised by some sections of the media.
"It is strange. I think it is a mentality thing," Kane continued. "It is easier these days to banter England players or take the mick out of England players, [then] if we don't do well in the World Cup it's 'Oh, we told you so.'
"It's a weaker mentality, but it is what it is. As a team we are focused on what we need to do, we have got to go with a mindset and a belief that we can win, we try and win everything we do and the World Cup is no different."
After a rare off-day for Kane in Spurs' 2-1 defeat to United at Wembley Stadium, the tweet from the FA Cup's official account read, "What's in your pocket, Chris" with a video of United defender Chris Smalling saying "Harry Kane."
"[The tweet] is something that has gone, it two weeks ago and I am over it," Kane said. The gaffer said I was sad, I am focused. I am a guy who gets on with things. If it happens, it happens, I move on, I look forward, I look forward to the next game, that's all I worry about: getting out on the pitch and doing my job."
The FA's tweet followed a flurry of jibes on social media after Kane and Spurs appealed to have Eriksen's goal at the bet365 Stadium awarded to Kane. On Monday, Liverpool's Dejan Lovren referred to the 24-year-old as "Mr Touch" on social media, a reference to Kane's insistence that he touched Eriksen's cross. The jokes have also come from England fans, and his potential World Cup teammates Jamie Vardy and Trent Alexander-Arnold.
Kane, though, urged the country to unite ahead of the World Cup -- but said he would not be distracted by a minority.
"People are going to have their opinions," he said. "When you are not doing well or the team are not doing well people are going to look for certain individuals to dig out. It is what it is, it is part of the game, I have always said I try not to get too high or too low because you never know what is around the corner, so I am trying to stay focused on what I need to do and that is perform on the pitch.
"People are entitled to their opinion, the press, everyone they can say what they want, I am focused on what I need to do.
"On social media you can get a few people that don't see eye-to-eye but that is part of fans and opinions. Everyone is passionate about their clubs and rightly so but as a nation when it comes to the World Cup that is the most important thing is the nation, that's what comes first.
"For me personally, I have always engaged with my fans, there are a small minority of fans that maybe go over the mark, but that is life, you can't get too down about it. I love my fans, all around the world, and hopefully they continue their support."
Kane added that his ankle is "fine" and "good" after Pochettino suggested he still nursing a hangover from the ankle ligament damage suffered against Bournemouth last month.
Dan is ESPN FC's Tottenham correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Dan_KP.