We’ve reached the climax of this feature series, at least until we take another look at the end of the season. The decision in regards to selecting England’s forwards ultimately comes down to who Southgate sees playing second fiddle to Harry Kane. If fit, Kane will be the premier goalscorer, so there won’t be too many squad places reserved for alternatives.
In terms of outright centre-forwards, I’d see maybe one alternative to Kane picked, because you’ll also have Marcus Rashford. You could stretch that to two if you have the luxury of an extra place, but considering the dilemmas in each other position, I doubt there’ll be much room left in the tank.
So if Kane and Rashford are in, who is left to consider?
On the plane
I’ve also reserved a place here for both Jadon Sancho and Raheem Sterling because they will be considered ‘forwards’ in the grand scheme of things. That complicates things further because already there are four places snapped up.
The pecking order might still change over the coming months, but will there even be room for a fifth or sixth place? If you are an England forward, you’ll want to be among the top two.
Danny Ings. The Southampton striker has defied the fitness concerns that have plagued his career to play a key role at the club this term, scoring eight league goals in 19 appearances.
He’ll be considered alongside Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin as the next in line, should injuries setback England’s preferred centre-forward options. The latter, meanwhile, sits besides Kane as the most prolific English striker in the league this term with 13 goals. Should England need to look beyond that, Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham will also be in with a chance, albeit a declining one.
Back of the queue
Due to his current injury status, Callum Wilson’s hopes of featuring for England this summer have plummeted. The 28-year-old wouldn’t start for England, but he’d be a valuable alternative, with 10 league goals scored in 2020/21.
Southgate will also have one eye on the progress of Man Utd’s Mason Greenwood. He was declared part of England’s plans when making his senior debut at the end of last year, but his European Championship tenure probably won’t begin this summer.
There are already more than enough options for Southgate and England to consider, so to go any further would be unnecessary. Nevertheless, both Patrick Bamford (Leeds) and Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa) have impressed this season; though they are still some distance from pushing into the international side.
There we have it.
After four in-depth features, that’s where our England preview concludes. Yet as I said at the beginning of the series, so much could still change over the remaining months of the Premier League season.
We’ll return to the series at the end of the campaign to see just how things might have changed! Let’s hope that such a return will not be tarnished by a further delay to the competition, which had been set to get underway a year ago.