The days of England taking a punt on the likes of Jay Bothroyd, David Nugent and Kevin Davies are well and truly behind us, it seems.
These days, the Three Lions boast plenty of exciting attacking options, including the starting trio of Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling and one of Marcus Rashford or Jadon Sancho.
But while the aforementioned names can more-or-less guarantee their places in Gareth Southgate’s squad ahead of this summer’s European Championships, there’s still a number of strikers with an outside chance of bagging a seat on the plane.
It’s lucky enough, then, that the likes of Danny Ings, Tammy Abraham, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and international retiree Jamie Vardy (more on him later) are all experiencing billboard seasons of rich goal-scoring form, and there’s a good chance they’ve each considered the upcoming tournament.
But which one should Southgate pick?
Abraham is perhaps ahead of the chasing pack at the moment, having been called-up to the squad back in November for England’s final Euro 2020 qualifiers.
In many ways, the young Chelsea forward has been one of the figureheads of the season so far, becoming the Blues’ main attacking outlet under Frank Lampard and notching 12 goals in the league — including eight by the end of October.
But worryingly the 22-year-old’s form has dipped over the last couple of months, and he’s scored just three goals since mid-November.
Perhaps more concerning for him are the rumours that Chelsea have been linked with January moves for Luka Jovic and Timo Werner, which could put Tammy’s regular place in the side under question — always a worrying prospect ahead of a major tournament.
But while Abraham was the name on everybody’s lips near the start of the season, it’s Ings who is the flavour of the month currently.
The Southampton striker is the Prem’s joint-second top scorer with 13 goals — drawing him level with the slightly more fashionable Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Three frustrating and injury-plagued seasons at Liverpool once threatened to cut-short his career, but he’s now reaping the rewards of being injury-free at his boyhood club.
But even so, Ings, who won a solitary England cap in 2015, is very much an outside bet for a chance to play at Euro 2020 — although it’ll be hard for Southgate to overlook him if he continues his scoring prowess.
Then there’s Vardy, of course, who’s top of the lot at the moment with 17 goals; leading the line for Brendan Rodgers’ stylish Leicester side as they challenge for a top four finish.
The 32-year-old (he turns 33 on January 11) retired from international football sometime after the 2018 World Cup, stating he’d only play for England again if there was a major injury crisis.
But Southgate has recently stated that he would be prepared to consider recalling Vardy, although whether he would accept the offer to play as understudy to Kane again is hard to predict.
Callum Wilson has been the man to fill Vardy’s boots since his retirement, and is widely seen as a fairly similar type of player to the Foxes forward; with his explosive running style and eye for goal.
But Wilson, much like everyone else associated with Bournemouth at the moment, is in the midst of a terrible run of form and he’s probably out of the reckoning for the Euro’s squad.
That then leaves only left-field options remaining.
Everton’s Calvert-Lewin has been a regular feature in the side since they sold Romelu Lukaku to Man United in 2017, with this season being his best by far.
In fact, new boss Carlo Ancelotti claims DCL could become one of Europe’s top strikers, with the No.9 hitting eight goals this season, including a delicious brace against Chelsea in December.
18-year-old Man United starlet Mason Greenwood must also be on Southgate’s radar, having burst onto the scene this season — in much the same way Rashford did before Euro 2016 — with important goals against Newcastle and Everton, as well as in the Europa League.
England’s next games come up in March, when they face Italy and then Denmark in back-to-back friendlies.
You can largely expect the base of Southgate’s squad for the upcoming tournament will feature in the games, although you’d expect there to be opportunities for experimentation, too.
For the strikers we’ve mentioned, good form between now and then could make all the difference.
- 5 players who could sneak their way into England’s Euro 2020 squad
- The contrasting careers of Tammy Abraham and Dominic Solanke shows patience is a virtue
- The definitive list of Premier League players you’d genuinely pay to watch
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