With only two months left before Roy Hodgson selects his squad for England’s Euro 2016 campaign, he has several options to lead the attack in France this summer. Concentrating only on central strikers, wide players who may operate as part of a front three such as Raheem Sterling and Theo Walcott are not under consideration here.
England’s Euro 2016 Striking Options
Wayne Rooney—Manchester United 109 Caps 51 Goals
As England Captain, Wayne Rooney’s place in England’s squad is assured should he be fit. But should it be? He has struggled for form and fitness in a Manchester United side that has not fired on all cylinders in front of goal.
Rooney’s form for England has been better, scoring three goals in four games (although two of those goals were penalties) and breaking Sir Bobby Charlton’s goal scoring record. One thing the 30-year-old can bring to the table is experience, having played at two previous European Championships and three World Cups. So even after what has not been his best season, his place in the squad is deserved, but he will need to rediscover the kind of form he showed at Euro 2004 to stay ahead of the high scoring duo of Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy in the pecking order.
Harry Kane—Tottenham Hotspur 8 Caps 3 Goals
For the past two seasons, Harry Kane has been in imperious form, already matching his 21 Premier League goal tally from 2014/15 this term. Having successfully transitioned from the under 21s to the senior side he will, injury permitting, be almost certain to be in England’s final squad in France. Kane’s ability to transfer his form for Tottenham to the national stage could be key to how far England can go at this summer’s tournament.
Jamie Vardy—Leicester City 3 caps 0 Goals
Jamie Vardy has been one of the season’s success stories. His 19 league goals have helped to propel Leicester to the top of the Premier League. His performances have earned him his place within the England squad and have started the debate over whether he should start ahead of captain Wayne Rooney. Should Roy Hodgson stick with Rooney alongside Kane, Vardy could be a useful weapon from the bench, using his pace to good effect against tiring defenders.
Daniel Sturridge—Liverpool 16 Caps 5 Goals
Having spent most of the season out injured, Sturridge has only made seven appearances for Liverpool so far this season. However, Hodgson has made it clear that Sturridge is still in his plans, calling him up for the games against Germany and the Netherlands, and he will be very much in the manager’s thoughts for the final 23-man squad this summer. He will need to prove his fitness and form before the end of the season if he is to gain a place ahead of England’s other options.
Danny Welbeck—Arsenal 33 Caps 13 Goals
Like Rooney and Sturridge, Danny Welbeck has had an injury interrupted 2015/16. He has a good scoring record and is one of only three players on this list (Rooney and Defoe being the others) to have reached double figures for his country. He is in good form since his return from injury, scoring four times in nine appearances.
Welbeck’s value to England is in his versatility. His ability to play out wide as well as a central striker could give him the edge when it comes down to selecting the final squad.
Troy Deeney—Watford Uncapped
Troy Deeney, like Jamie Vardy, has put his name into England contention by helping an unfancied side to heights few thought possible back in August. Nine goals and a successful partnership with Watford team-mate Odion Ighalo has seen calls for him to be included in the England set-up. After being left out of this week’s friendlies, time is running out for the Watford striker. A strong finish to the season could help push his case but Roy Hodgson does seem to favour other options.
Jermain Defoe—Sunderland 55 Caps 19 Goals
Defoe has been a rare ray of light in Sunderland’s season as the club battles against relegation. His 12 goals make him the third highest English scorer in the Premier League this season. However, his omission from the latest squad, despite his form and international experience, suggest he is not in Roy Hodgson’s plans for this summer’s tournament.
Marcus Rashford—Manchester United Uncapped
Rashford has made a huge impact since breaking into the Manchester United side. Five goals in eight appearances, including a brace against Arsenal and the winner in the Manchester derby, have had Roy Hodgson asked about potential call-up for Euro 2016, which he has refused to rule out.
This would be a mistake. It is too early for Rashford to be called up to the senior squad. With a maximum potential games tally this season of 19 (should Manchester United progress to the FA Cup final) that is not enough games to effectively assess the young man’s consistency or ability to handle the pressure that comes with playing for England at a major tournament.
He should be allowed to develop within the England youth set up and should spend the summer with either the under 21s or under 20s and then look to progress to the senior side during England’s Russia 2018 qualifying campaign.