Danny Welbeck’s knee injury in Arsenal’s match against Manchester City has been quite the talking point of late, as it means him being ruled out of this summer’s European Championship, which will be a rather significant blow to Roy Hodgson. Although the forward has not exactly been productive at club level, his international record is highly commendable and Welbeck has become a favourite of the England boss. He does display quite a lot of skill as far as attack is concerned but his susceptibility to injury has hampered his career.
Welbeck generally prefers being a central striker but Hodgson would have deployed him in a wide role, especially with the likes of Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy. Hodgson has three options to choose for the No9 nine position, not to mention captain Wayne Rooney, thereby meaning that Hodgson could opt to replace Welbeck with another player capable of fulfilling duties on the wing. Here’s a list of the potential players who could fill up that position if Welbeck is unavailable:
• Andy Carroll
Carroll has been fit enough since returning from injury and has scored nine league goals for West Ham this season, with six of them in the last six weeks, along with two assists. Carroll would no doubt be used as a substitute if picked by Hodgson this summer. Carroll can have a strong impact when a side needs an alternative and more direct outlet. Indeed, those four goals have all been decisive in one way or another, earning West Ham a total of six points.
• Troy Deeney
He may not have been mentioned much when it comes to matters regarding England but he also offers a direct approach and has put together an impressive debut campaign in the top flight. The Watford skipper is the fourth top scoring Englishman in the Premier League. He tops the list of aerial duels won in the Premier League this season, while a tally of 53 chances created is the most of any striker in the league.
• Michail Antonio
After a slow start to life at West Ham, the 26-year-old has shown great versatility to exploit injuries in the squad and earn the fifth-highest rating of all English players this season. Capable of playing in any position on the right, where the national team is perhaps at its weakest, Antonio has the physical attributes but may lack the technical quality to succeed at international level. Six goals and three assists have been very beneficial to West Ham’s European bid but a pass accuracy of 68.9% is extremely poor.
• Marc Albrighton
Albrighton is definitely another option on the wing. The former Aston Villa man has featured in every game of Leicester’s title-winning campaign and has given Ranieri’s side exceptional balance. However, while the 26-year old’s early delivery into the box is among the best in the league, he may perhaps not as athletic a player as England need or at least Hodgson wants in his wide roles. The only reason Hodgson might steer clear of Albrighton is because while he maybe reliable, he lacks flair and pace.
Welbeck’s injury has indeed provided hope to these players now it remains to be seen who Hodgson will ultimately choose, if a situation arises. The England manager must opt for variety in striking positions or an in-form threat from wide, with his favoured squad from qualifying severely lacking as far as the latter is concerned.