With 3 months to go until the start of the World Cup, one of the most spoken about things at a time like this is always the announcement of the England squad. With the goalkeepers, defenders and midfielders position virtually picking themselves, the one thing that everyone is disputing is who will be the fourth striker in Roy Hodgson’s squad.
With three spaces practically secured by Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge and Danny Welbeck. The striking department is frequently the most uncertain. While there are plenty of options, who’s in the running?
Despite moving to Canada to play in the MLS, former Tottenham man Jermain Defoe should not be forgotten about just because he isn’t playing in as solid a league as the rest. A huge reason for Defoe’s move was to guarantee first team football and remind England boss Hodgson of what he is capable of.
Identified as one of the most proven strikers England and the premier has seen over recent years. Since making his England debut in 2004 against Sweden he has been a regular in the England squad making a total of 54 caps. Unquestionably the most experienced out of contenders for this final place in the squad, in those 54 caps Defoe has scored 19 goals including a winner in the last World Cup against Slovenia which saw England progress through to the knockouts.
Numerous will select Defoe for this role as he scores the most goals and this is the main feature of his game. With one World Cup under his belt and two goals on his MLS debut it’s easy to see why Defoe is a serious contender.
Previous eras state England favour to pick an old-style No.9 and at present there isn’t a better selection than Andy Carroll, who took on over 300 headed battles in his first season at West Ham winning a hugely inspiring 62% of them.
Like any factual number 9 Carroll’s key factors are his power, strength and heading ability. His extraordinary capability in the air makes him a handful for any opposition. Despite this Carroll’s lack of goals netting only 53 times in 192 club career games giving him a ratio of one in every four games. This and his personality off the pitch is a key problem, as his immaturity leads him to make the odd reckless decision.
A couple of noticeable performances at Euro 2012 including a bullet header against Sweden will seriously give Roy Hodgson something to think about.
Starting his international career off in fine style, coming off the bench to score the winner with his first touch against local rivals Scotland at Wembley. Seven years ago Ricki Lambert was playing in League two and never in his wildest dreamers would have believed he could possibly be in this position, now he is well in the frame to make the squad.
Only his second season in the division, Lambert has scored an impressive twenty four goals in sixty eight Premier League games. The thirty one year old has several key qualities, fantastic in the air, on the floor and lethal from set plays, Lambert scores a range of goals.
In the twenty four he has racked up in the last two seasons they included five headers, five free kicks, five penalties, nine open play goals along with sixteen assists. Lambert is a different animal where England are troubled, merging aerial capability with unexpectedly remarkable technical ability.
Perhaps the most unexperienced out of the four, possibly the outsider to make the Roy’s World Cup squad, certainly the most inform English striker at this present moment in time. Besides Daniel Sturridge, Jay Rodriguez is currently the top scoring Englishman with fourteen this term, more than Defoe, Carroll, Rooney and Welbeck. So why does Rodriguez merit an opportunity?
Despite not scoring heaps of goals, he’s an alternate choice should Roy Hodgson take a chance on a youngster rather than experience. With the ability to play on either wing and not look out of place, although most content playing central.
One question I continuously ask myself, if you’re 1-0 down in a World Cup Final needing a goal, who would you most want to come on?
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