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Who Should Start For England In Place Of The Injured Harry Kane?

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 02: Harry Kane of England in action during the international friendly match between England and Portugal at Wembley Stadium on June 2, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Harry Kane will miss England’s upcoming games, after Tottenham confirmed he has sustained ankle ligament damage and will face a spell on the sidelines.

With Gareth Southgate due to name his squad on Thursday, he will be thinking hard about replacements for Kane. When making his choice, he will need to look at who’s playing well, who has a positive influence and who can play as a lone striker.

Spurs teammate and fellow England international Eric Dier suggests the 23-year-old prolific striker is pretty much irreplaceable. However, someone will have to fill the void left by his absence.

Here, we look at who should start for England now that Kane will not be fit to face Germany on March 22 or Lithuania a few days later.

When Kane was unavailable last November, Southgate first picked Daniel Sturridge to face Scotland and then started with Jamie Vardy against Spain.

So, let’s start with those two first.

Daniel Sturridge (25 caps, 8 goals)

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 11: Daniel Sturridge of England (9) celebrates as he scores their first goal during the FIFA 2018 World Cup qualifying match between England and Scotland at Wembley Stadium on November 11, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Hugely gifted but injury-prone striker who is currently out of favour at Liverpool. Has started just nine games in all competition at domestic level this term, whilst making twelve appearances off the bench.

Although Sturridge does have a decent goalscoring return for his country, eight goals from twenty-five caps, his lack of match fitness is a definite negative. He hasn’t featured for Liverpool since the beginning of February, so would be  a huge risk.

 

Jamie Vardy (14 caps, 5 goals)

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 15: Jamie Vardy of England in action during the international friendly match between England and Spain at Wembley Stadium on November 15, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Vardy is another striker having a poor season. After scoring twenty-four goals to lead Leicester City to the title last term, he has found the net just nine times in thirty-four games during this campaign.

Despite his below average season, there are a still a lot of positives to selecting Vardy. He has scored five goals in fourteen England appearances, was man of the match in their most recent international against Spain and his form has improved since the managerial change at Leicester. He will also be boosted by helping his team reach the Champions League quarter-final.

 

Marcus Rashford (6 caps, 1 goal)

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 15: Marcus Rashford of England slips on the advertising mat during the international friendly match between England and Spain at Wembley Stadium on November 15, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

The 19-year-old has been underused by Jose Mourinho at Manchester United this season, which has seen him fail to live up to the promise he showed last term. In saying that, he is still an extremely talented young striker who possesses frightening pace, excellent composure, and he has a pretty good goal scoring record.

Maybe just a little too inexperienced to lead the line for his country and there are slight concerns over his fitness. He did complete 90 minutes for United against Chelsea in the FA Cup this week, although he was a spectator for the most part.

 

Jermain Defoe (55 caps, 19 goals)

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 15: Jermain Defoe of England is watched by Eugenio Mena of Chile during the international friendly match between England and Chile at Wembley Stadium on November 15, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

The 34-year-old hasn’t played for his country since 2013 but his form over the past couple of seasons could see him add to his fifty-five caps this month. Scored fifteen goals to keep Sunderland in the Premier League last season and already has fourteen this term, in a team that have only scored twenty-four league goals.

Doesn’t appear to be showing any signs of age, is highly experienced at the top level, can lead the line and is a proven goal scorer. Those qualities should propel him to the top of Southgate’s list when it comes to selecting Kane’s replacement.

Working against him is the fact he is playing for the Premier League’s bottom club and has been away from the international scene for so long.

 

Theo Walcott (47 caps, 8 goals)

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 29: Theo Walcott of England runs clear from Jetro Willems of the Netherlands during the International Friendly match between England and Netherlands at Wembley Stadium on March 29, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Has scored fifteen goals in twenty-six games in all competition this term and has plenty of international experience. He has always possessed blistering pace, excellent technique, and brilliant movement off the ball. His end product let him down on a regular basis, although that has something which has improved with experience.

His goal scoring ability and style of play makes him a dangerous attacker for any club at any level. Is definitely in with a big chance of starting for England this month.

 

Andy Carroll (9 caps, 2 goals)

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 29: Andy Carroll of England celebrates as he scores their first goal during the international friendly match between England and Ghana at Wembley Stadium on March 29, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Another player who has been away from the international scene for a long time, Carroll would bring something different to the England attack. Is an extremely powerful forward who is great in the air and imposes himself on opposition defences.

Has scored six goals this season, despite missing a large chunk of the campaign through injury, and is playing with confidence at the moment. His constant fitness concerns may go against him when Southgate is selecting his squad.

 

Troy Deeney (uncapped)

WATFORD, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 25: Darren Randolph of West Ham United looks dejected as Troy Deeney of Watford celebrates as he scores the first goal from a penalty during the Premier League match between Watford and West Ham United at Vicarage Road on February 25, 2017 in Watford, England. (Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)

The Watford captain has never represented England at any level, although he has twice turned down the chance to play for Jamaica. Not only a decent goal scorer, he creates chances, is good with the ball at his feet, his hold-up play is exceptional and he possesses leadership qualities required to lead an attack.

Inexperience at the highest level works against him. Despite being just a couple of months short of turning twenty-nine, Deeney has never received an international cap or played in European competition. In fact, he is only in his second ever Premier League campaign.

Would be a shock if Southgate picked him, but stranger things have happened in football. Also, his form deserves recognition.

Statistics

Using only league statistics from premierleague.com, we have looked at each striker and how well they have performed this season.

Appearances

Goals

Goals per Match

Shooting Accuracy

Assists

Passes

Big Chances Created

Sturridge

14

2

0.14

61%

1

208

2

Vardy

24

7

0.29

35%

3

388

5

Rashford

21

3

0.14

38%

1

387

1

Defoe

27

14

0.52

33%

2

322

0

Walcott

20

8

0.40

45%

2

433

2

Carroll

14

6

0.43

31%

0

314

2

Deeney

27

9

0.33

47%

3

667

2

So, as you can see, there isn’t really one stand-out option in every department. Every player has their own strengths and weaknesses, and each would bring something different to the team.

However, just looking at positive stats doesn’t give the full story. There are negative stats to be considered as well, such as big chances missed or the amount of fouls conceded.

Big Chances Missed

Fouls Conceded

Caught Offside

Sturridge

3

4

5

Vardy

5

21

14

Rashford

2

8

3

Defoe

5

18

24

Walcott

6

13

13

Carroll

0

19

3

Deeney

6

35

11

Looking at these figures gives a wider view of each player.

Who Should Replace Kane?

It’s a tough decision and one Southgate will want to get right. He may even opt to select an extra striker in the squad as a backup option.

On this season’s form and suitability in the lone striker system,England will likely play, the best option appears to be Defoe. However, Sturridge and Vardy have both played in that role under Southgate. With Sturridge short of match fitness and suffering from constant niggling injuries, it’s likely to be Vardy who will get the nod.

Peter Reynolds, Pundit Arena

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Author: The PA Team

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