Finally, we take a look at the danger zone for the England National team! This will be surely spear headed by Harry Kane, but who will be his supporting acts?
Following on from the logic used throughout this series, it is probable that England will start with Kane up top and have two attacking midfielders supporting from behind.
There is a good contrast of styles available to Southgate on this list so it will be interesting to see who he takes, and ultimately selects! It’s fairly certain that Southgate will bring Lingard, Sterling, Dele & Rashford on the plane, the rest however, may have to be content with being on the stand-by list!
After having a stellar season for the newly crowned champions, it’s impossible to think that Raheem Sterling does not start for England this summer! His 18 league goals shows the development in his game that he was missing all along, the ability to seize an opportunity! It seems Guardiola has installed a ruthlessness in him which can only benefit the National side.
The other starter is less obvious. No one else has performed to such a high that they demand a jersey, but instead through the inconsistency of others it’s likely that Dele Alli will get the nod.
Alli has had a decent season, not great but equally not poor either. After breaking through onto the scene a few years ago his form has progress to a very high standard, but seems to have stagnated somewhat this season. Let’s not forget, he is still a very young man. Development can stall through distractions off the pitch, something which becomes increasingly more difficult in the modern game!
Rashford & Lingard both suffer from playing in a Jose Mourinho side. Not intended on being insulting to either player or manager, but the style of play isn’t very complimentary of their skillset and as such their playing time has been limited this season. Both, however, do pose quite a formidable threat from the substitutes bench and will put fear into any tiring defense.
When fit, there is only one answer to this question: no!
Kane is the best striker available to England, and depending on who you ask, is the best centre-forward in the world. (Good luck trying to convince me he is better or worse than Lewandowski, Benzema or Suarez!).
Jamie Vardy is definitely the back up striker for England. He has been consistently great for Leicester again this season, and offers a threat that arguably Kane does not, the ability to run in behind defenders at pace. If the occasion calls for it, it’s quite possible that Kane & Vardy could become partners in attack, now that’s a potent attack!
Rashford is also a good option here but is similar in style to Vardy.
England do have the option of having a big-guy coming off the bench but it doesn’t look likely that they will use it. Andy Carroll should be on the plane as he does offer something completely different to Kane, Vardy & Rashford! Let’s not forget, this is the World Cup, a knock-out tournament. If things are not going your way, you need to be able to offer a different approach, my main concern with the likely line up (and striking replacements) is that it’s all very samish!
Time will tell!