With Euro 2020 just five months away England captain Harry Kane has been ruled out until at least April with a hamstring injury. Will England be able to cope if their star striker is unavailable?
Kane limped out of Tottenham’s New Year’s Day defeat to Southampton and although he has since tweeted about his successful surgery, Spurs boss Jose Mourinho says there is no update on exactly when the forward will be back on the pitch.
That raises concerns for England manager Gareth Southgate and he may already be considering back-up plans in case Kane is not fully fit or even completely unavailable for the European Championships.
It would be some hole to fill. Kane made his England debut in March 2015 and has since scored 32 goals in just 45 caps, making him his country’s sixth-highest scorer of all time. This season alone he has scored in each of England’s six fixtures, including hat-tricks against Bulgaria and Montenegro at Wembley.
Kane was the top scorer in Euro 2020 qualifying with 12 goals and has hit the net 27 times in 35 competitive games, stats which underline how much he would be missed this summer.
England’s top competitive goalscorers since June 2017 Players Goals Harry Kane 24 Raheem Sterling 10 Marcus Rashford 7 Ross Barkley 4
However, England do have an abundance of options in attack with six of the current top nine scorers in the Premier League English players.
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Jamie Vardy is retired from international football but is the leading scorer this term with 17 goals, while Danny Ings, Marcus Rashford and Tammy Abraham are enjoying their best scoring Premier League seasons, despite there still being 16 games to play.
Add Raheem Sterling (11 goals) and Jadon Sancho (nine Bundesliga goals) to the mix and it’s clear Southgate has a range of players to turn to.
Premier League top scorers – 2019/20 Player Club Premier League goals Jamie Vardy Leicester 17 Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Arsenal 14 Danny Ings Southampton 14 Marcus Rashford Man Utd 14 Tammy Abraham Chelsea 13 Sergio Aguero Man City 13 Harry Kane Tottenham 11 Sadio Mane Liverpool 11 Raheem Sterling Man City 11
Of these English forwards, Rashford and Sterling are both established internationals, although they have typically been played in wide forward areas in the past, and Abraham and Ings are yet to start a competitive international.
A further option could be Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin who is also enjoying his best scoring Premier League season (8) and has scored five goals in his last seven Premier League appearances, while Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has warned that 18-year-old Mason Greenwood shouldn’t be rushed, despite scoring nine goals across all competitions this season.
English forwards compared – Premier League 2019/20 Player Apps Goals Assists Conversion Shooting accuracy Shots on target Mins per goal Vardy 20 17 4 35% 66% 29 106 Ings 22 14 1 25% 57% 26 110 Rashford 22 14 4 19% 58% 34 134 Abraham 21 13 3 20% 55% 29 129 Kane 20 11 2 20% 55% 24 162 Sterling 20 11 1 19% 59% 20 152 Calvert-Lewin 20 8 0 20% 58% 18 164
It’s food for thought for Southgate.
He would surely like to have Vardy at his disposal – the Leicester talisman has the most goals, joint-most assists (four, with Rashford), best shot conversion, best shooting accuracy and best minutes per goal ratio of English strikers this season.