Rickie Lambert – 2 goals in 19 apps
Charlie Austin – 12 goals in 16 apps
Saido Berahino – 13 goals in 24 apps
Harry Kane – 10 goals in 19 apps
Simple stats from this season that suggest Hodgson’s reliance on having a non-scoring, off-form target man as a 4th striker is pointless when there are 3 English strikers who could do a better job, and are long-term options unlike the 32 year old Liverpool striker.
Two of those could do a good job as a big-man type striker, both Austin and Kane have considerable strength. Berahino is more like Sturridge – more of a striker to play off the shoulder of a centre back, with finishing ability and pace to burn.
For a few years now England have relied on the likes of Defoe, Lambert and Heskey to fill the 4th striker spot. Finally, we seem to have three options that would put pressure on the likes of Welbeck and Sturridge if only they were given half a chance. Even Andy Carroll looks a better option than Lambert.
Big Rickie has scored 3 goals in 11 games for England, but like Crouch all were against poor sides. Simply having him in the squad is pointless. So – who to pick?
A) Berahino has had half a good season, but his form is impressing Liverpool and Tottenham. The price quoted is around £20m. 10 goals in 13 under 21 games suggests he is ready. 22 in 60 apps
B) Austin, like Lambert, proved himself at Swindon and Burnley first in the lower leagues, and burst onto the scene this season. If he carries on lime this, you could see someone like Southampton or Spurs snapping him up. David Nugent did something similar, and he ended up being a one-cap wonder, scoring from 0.2 yards out. 32 in 53 for QPR in his season and a bit with them.
C) Kane has had a few loans all over the place. Only this season have Spurs given him the chance, and after his wonderful performance vs Chelsea, he has been compared to the likes of Shearer and Sheringham – huge compliments. He seems very grounded too. 8 goals in 10 under 21 games since 2013 when he got his first cap for that side.
It’s a very difficult choice. Like mentioned – all three are in form and scoring. Two of the three have a track record in the youth systems for England, having similar records to other European strikers who have made the jump from Under 21’s to the main team. The only thing I can see is all three have less than 100 first team apps in the top league, which other stars for the likes of Germany, Holland and Spain usually have. The likes of Alcacer and Depay, even Lasogga and Volland all had nearly 100 apps. England have rushed the likes of Nugent in simply because they are performing, and Carroll – so you can maybe see why they do not want to push them in too soon.
However, this is for the 4th spot. It’s not like they would be starting. I believe it’s time for one to make the full squad. The question is – which? Who would you pick?
For me – it would be Kane or Austin. Berahino went missing for several games this season, but he plays for West Brom and they are struggling a little, with supply to him being iffy.
Who would you pick?