Leading the line Verdicts on where England forwards stand in the Euro 2016 pecking order by Alan Smith
Harry Kane Since scoring on his debut after 79 seconds, the Tottenham man has looked both comfortable and dangerous enough to suggest he can go on to score an awful lot more. Not only that, a powerful frame, sound touch and good awareness allows him to lead the line effectively. Stands as his country’s most reliable centre-forward in terms of offering a goal threat and focal point for attacks.
Verdict Definitely going and will probably start.
Jamie Vardy Bears the look of an impact substitute more than starter. That raw pace, hunger and quality, as shown against Germany, could prove a devastating weapon in a game’s final quarter. As legs start to tire, he would be a nightmare to handle. There is also a fair chance that, if selected, he would travel to France as a Premier League champion, which should generate even more self-belief.
Verdict Impossible to ignore. Euros beware.
Danny Welbeck A favourite of Hodgson’s, Welbeck (right) has returned after a long injury lay-off to put in some impressive performances for Arsenal. His versatility makes him a valuable member of this squad. Prepared to shuttle up and down the flank in a 4-3-3, his marvellous scoring ratio for England must count for a great deal.
Verdict Should make the squad.
Daniel Sturridge In terms of pure talent, few can match a forward blessed with dazzling ball control and clinical finishing skills. The big doubt remains his fitness record. Will he be available? If he is, it would be hard to leave out someone capable of deciding a tight tussle with a bit of magic.
Verdict If fit and in form, must travel.
Theo Walcott Of this six, the Arsenal man’s coat hangs on the shakiest peg. Much could change, of course, between now and May but, for the moment, Walcott is not doing enough to get a game for his club never mind find a place on that flight to France. More discouraging still, his blistering pace used to offer something different in the squad. Vardy’s emergence, however, has put an end to that.
Verdict As things stand, cannot be picked.