Another brace for Tottenham’s Harry Kane has added more fuel to the fire, and the question of who should lead the line for England continues to be debated in pubs across the globe. The number of quality options that Roy Hodgson has at his disposal is staggering with Kane, Saido Berahino and Charlie Austin joining a growing list of top flight strikers which already included Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge and Danny Welbeck. Should Roy decide to join this most modern decade of football he could also find an attacking role for Raheem Sterling, Adam Lallana, Theo Walcott and myriad other attacking midfielders who are equally comfortable lining-up in the front three.
Which brings us to a question posed on Twitter: how to solve the England striker conundrum? Hodgson has a number of possible selection headaches, compounded by many managers in the Premier League electing to play some of England’s best in a position where the Three Lions would prefer not use them. Louis van Gaal’s recent deployment of Wayne Rooney in the middle of the pitch means the Red Devils captain has not had as many goal-scoring opportunities as seasons past. Falling down the pecking order at The Emirates has limited Danny Welbeck’s chances. Welbeck is also used pushed-out on the wing, a position that is best left to Raheem Sterling and Theo Walcott (if healthy) should Hodgson elect to play a front three. Daniel Sturridge is seeing his minutes carefully managed at Liverpool by Brendan Rodgers. It is an apparent embarrassment of riches that comes with considerable warning – manager be ware.
Perhaps the most notable aspect of many of this new breed of English forward is how many prefer to go it alone. Both Harry Kane and Charlie Austin lead their respective clubs scoring charts by a wide margin. Kane frequently, and Austin on occasion, is deployed as a loan forward with five midfielders in support. Perhaps this is the best option for the Senior side. A front six predicated on Kane as the loan wolf would give Hodgson the flexibility to play Sterling, Lallana and Rooney in behind, with some combination of Jack Wilshere, Ross Barkley and James Milner pairing Jordan Henderson behind the advanced three.
All of the forwards are quality options but which has presented the best case this term? The answer may not surprise – but the margin by which he leads is shocking. We’ve looked at the players mentioned above and added Danny Ings – Burnley’s impressive young striker – to the mix to illustrate just how much competition exists for the England No. 9.
Harry Kane has not only scored nearly a goal per 90′ in Premier League action this season, he has done so by recording the best scoring percentage (goals/shots*100) of the group. Some of this is, no doubt, down to the quality of the side in which he plays as the service from Christian Eriksen (who leads Spurs in total shots taken), Erik Lemela and company leaves Kane in prime position to score. However, without normalizing for quality of competition or service provided, Kane is the winner by a large margin. In 500′ more, with an additional 26 shots registered – of which, it must be noted, only eight were on target – Charlie Austin has recorded one goal less than Kane.
At this stage in his career it might be too much for the young man, but Kane has shown his class this term. While Daniel Sturridge and Wayne Rooney continue to impress and must be apart of any squad selected at present, it is Harry Kane who should lead the line for the Three Lions.
Of course, that’s just in the real world.
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