England’s Forward Future After Vardy: 10 Players Southgate Could Turn to

Wednesday, 5 September, 2018 - 05:45
London- Dominic Fifield

Next in line
Marcus Rashford Manchester United

Age 20 Caps 25 Goals 3

The 20-year-old is established in Gareth Southgate’s squad and was arguably ahead of Jamie Vardy in the pecking order at the World Cup finals, often employed in one of the wider attacking berths when called on. He burst on to the scene before Euro 2016 and demonstrated against Costa Rica, just before the tournament in Russia, he can flourish centrally. Rashford, like Vardy, is slippery and quick and as eager to torment full-backs as center-halves. He also poses a considerable threat on the counterattack. Yet where Vardy has been prolific at club level, Rashford’s scoring record is patchy and he has found opportunities to play through the middle limited. He was not even called from the bench as United subsided to Spurs on Monday.

Untried talent
Callum Wilson Bournemouth

Age 26 Caps 0

Wilson’s is one of the Premier League’s more heartening stories. A player who made his name at Coventry before his goals propelled Bournemouth out of the Championship has endured anterior cruciate ligament damage to both knees, wrecking his chances of making an impact in two of his team’s top-flight campaigns. The goals have come in fits and starts with Wilson feeling his way back but he has started this season in excellent form. Now 26, his chance would come late but he is quick, a smart finisher and playing regularly in a resurgent team. His background, from non‑league loans to proving himself among the elite, would sit easily among the similar back-stories within Southgate’s squad.

Forgotten men
Danny Welbeck Arsenal

Age 27 Caps 40 Goals 16

Welbeck was the leading scorer in England’s squad going into the summer’s tournament, yet his involvement extended to 11 minutes of action. Southgate praised Welbeck’s attitude but a player who has been dogged by injuries was very much a back-up to the back-ups. The 27-year-old will be feeling similarly peripheral at his club and Arsenal would have listened to offers. He sprung off the bench to score his team’s third against West Ham on Saturday and is another who can be used across the front line, but is he someone England should prioritize?

Daniel Sturridge Liverpool

Age 28 Caps 26 Goals 8

Arguably the most natural finisher eligible to Southgate, and a player on whom Roy Hodgson leant heavily. Yet the problem has always been availability. Injuries have nullified his impact in recent seasons and, with Jürgen Klopp preferring more reliable alternatives, he was loaned to West Brom in January. There, too, he was blighted by fitness issues.Yet Sturridge, who turns 29 on Saturday, was prolific in pre-season and scored with his first touch of the opening weekend to suggest he could be a regular scorer from the bench.

Bright young things
Tammy Abraham Chelsea

Age 20 Caps 2 Goals 0

The Chelsea youth-team graduate was called up last autumn while enjoying a bright start to his loan at Swansea. He charged into those games against Germany and Brazil with confidence, and might have scored with his first touch. Yet things turned sour in south Wales. Some questioned his attitude, but Swansea, labouring in the relegation scrap, did not create enough opportunities to bring out his best. The 20-year-old has resisted attempts to loan him again but will the occasional outing in the Europa League be enough to warrant inclusion in the England squad?

Dominic Solanke Liverpool

Age 20 Caps 1 Goals 0

Another player who developed his talent in Chelsea’s academy, via a loan at Vitesse Arnhem, before a contractual dispute saw him move to Anfield in 2017. Although there have been only five Premier League starts under Klopp, the Under-21s regular was called up for the senior squad last November and granted a 15-minute cameo against Brazil. Southgate is a fan, but it is hard to imagine Solanke breaking into Liverpool’s forward line. His 27 appearances for the club have yielded a solitary goal.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin Everton

Age 21 Caps 0

Nurtured at Sheffield United and a developing talent at Goodison Park, where the 6ft 2in forward has been asked to lead the line in difficult times, Calvert-Lewin has impressed Southgate in the Under-21s. He has not been prolific – there have been five top-flight goals in 45 appearances – and he is behind Cenk Tosun in the pecking order, with his involvement this term limited to two late cameos off the bench.

Unfinished business
Theo Walcott Everton

Age 29 Caps 47 Goals 8

Walcott probably represents too much of England’s past and, at 29, his selection for the first time since November 2016 would feel like regression. Yet, having rather stalled at Arsenal, the forward is thriving again at Everton. A flurry of goals has provoked talk of a recall. “I’ve got 47 caps and I want that to be a lot more,” Walcott said last weekend. He is still quick and would offer experience, though he has never really been prolific. It remains a source of frustration that a player of his talent boasts only four appearances, and a solitary goal, at a major tournament.

The future
Jadon Sancho Borussia Dortmund

Age 18 Caps 0

Sancho would operate most naturally from a wider position, where his pace causes problems and he cuts inside. has been prolific through England’s junior set-up and, since moving to Dortmund, has made an impact in the Bundesliga. The 18-year-old scored a first professional goal, against Bayer Leverkusen, in April and, having supplied Marco Reus in the 4-1 demolition of Leipzig last weekend, has contributed five assists. No Dortmund player can match that since the start of last season and Sancho has been involved only since January. Southgate has long been a fan. A call-up is imminent.

Ryan Sessegnon Fulham

Age 18 Caps 0

The priority for the Fulham academy talent is establishing his qualities in the Premier League and possibly with the Under-21s. He would flourish from wide left and offers pace, trickery and boundless energy. He scored 16 goals in the Championship last season and will need to prove himself at the higher level but early indications are promising.

(The Guardian)

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