Never before has England’s national team had such an abundance of strikers to choose from as they do now. England are one of only three nations to win all four of their Euro 2016 qualifiers this year, with Czech Republic and Slovakia for company. With this being the case, it can be argued that England are the only highly seeded country to be doing their ranking any justice, with nations like Netherlands, Belgium and Russia all slipping up early on.
Despite our current success, Roy may well be in a bit of a predicament when it comes to striking options with so many English strikers doing well and breaking through the ranks. Wayne Rooney is all that remains of the old guard from past European Championships, and with Daniel Sturridge so often struggling with injury, a question needs to be asked: who will lead the line should we be without them both?
Let’s begin with Harry Kane, statistically the most successful Englishman in front of goal this season in the Premiership. Kane has netted a staggering 26 goals in 42 matches (16 in the Premier League) in what can be deemed his breakthrough season; a remarkable feat for any player, let alone a 21 year old player having his first taste of regular first team football. Called up to the England squad to face Lithuania for the first time in his young career, could he continue his fine form for the Three Lions?
The man that many tipped to be in the squad before Kane’s form was Charlie Austin. The 25 year old R’s front-man has netted 15 league goals this season for his lowly team, arguably a more impressive return if you were to consider his team’s form this season. Harry Kane may have jumped Austin in the queue for an England shirt, but should he continue his fine form and inevitably find pastures-new next season to pick up where he left off, he could easily be on the plane to France next year.
Left in the shadows since the turn of the year is Danny Welbeck. An instant impact in North London after his surprise move from Manchester, the recent form of Frenchman Olivier Giroud and Wenger’s preference for one out-and-out striker in his XI has left Welbeck to occupy the bench of late. Down as a ‘hot prospect’ for as long as many people can remember, perhaps it’s make-or-break time for the now 24 year-old with regards to his England career, with only his reliable form for the Three Lions keeping him in the squad for now.
An outsider for selection against Lithuania, but rightly in the mix, is Burnley starlet Danny Ings. Although less likely to break into the team than Kane and Austin, Ings’ case for a call-up should not go overseen; the Burnley man has contributed to more goals-per-game in the Premier League this season than both Sturridge and Welbeck. Many expected more call-ups for uncapped players for this qualifier, but perhaps Ings will have to wait a little longer before he gets the nod.
In the squad earlier in the campaign, Saido Berahino has struggled with injury of late and would not have been available for selection anyway, but has statistically been furthest from the pace when compared to Kane, Austin and Ings. The West Brom man will be looking to finish the season on a high and push for a call-up for the match away to Slovenia in June.
A long-shot to be in the squad for next year’s championships is Chelsea academy favourite Dominic Solankie. The 17 year-old has surprisingly been drafted into the England squad ahead of the likes of Austin and Ings following the withdrawal of Daniel Sturridge through injury. Solankie was presented with the England Men’s Youth Player of the Year for 2014 this week after his efforts at the U17’s European Championships last year. In the team but not likely to figure, France 2016 may come to soon for the youngster but he is certainly one-to-watch in the future.
So with Roy spoilt for choice up-front, and with so many young strikers coming through to make a name for themselves in English football, England look to be in good shape as they finish the 2014/15 Premier League campaign and look to book their place in France sooner rather than later. The 2015/16 Premier League season will obviously be the one that matters most with regard to team selection, so here’s to hoping our Lions keep on making the headlines for all the right reasons.