English strikers shine in the Premier League – but who is best placed to support Harry Kane?
Jamie Vardy’s hat-trick against Manchester City capped an excellent weekend for English strikers in the Premier League as several current, former and prospective Three Lions players found the target for their respective clubs.
It comes as England manager Gareth Southgate prepares to announce his latest squad ahead of a triple-header of fixtures beginning with Wales at Wembley on 8 October.
Though Tottenham forward Harry Kane is nailed on as first-choice striker and Raheem Sterling, Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford look set to vie for a wide position, there are plenty of enticing back-up options for Southgate to choose from.
But which centre-forward is best placed to be the main pretender to Kane as England build towards the rearranged Euro 2020 next summer – and is it time for Vardy to put himself back in contention?
BBC Sport takes a look at the potential candidates and you can vote for your favourite at the bottom of the page…
Jamie Vardy (Leicester)
Fresh from winning the Premier League’s Golden Boot with an impressive 23-goal haul, Vardy has had no problem continuing his free-scoring form of last season with five goals in the opening three games of the new campaign.
That’s after his treble against title hopefuls Manchester City at Etihad Stadium, which consisted of two penalties – both won by himself – and a clever, instinctive finish. In the first half, he had just eight touches of the ball – but one of those won a penalty and another saw him convert it.
Southgate said he was prepared to consider recalling Vardy, scorer of seven goals in 26 England caps, amid his preparations for Euro 2020 – now set for June 2021.
Having scored 11 goals in 19 league games so far in 2020 and recording a shot conversion rate of 23.9%, is it time for Vardy to rejoin England for one last hurrah next summer?
Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live, ex-England winger Chris Waddle said: “As a centre-forward [Vardy] is a nightmare to play against. You can’t rest for a minute and as long as he has got that pace in his game he is always going to be a problem for any defence.”
Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton)
Dominic Calvert-Lewin is thoroughly enjoying life at Everton under the guidance of decorated Italian manager Carlo Ancelotti.
Level with Vardy at the top of the Premier League scoring charts, the in-form 23-year-old became the first player to score in each of the Toffees’ opening three Premier League games of a campaign since Steven Naismith in 2014 when he struck his fifth league goal of the season in a 2-1 win over Crystal Palace.
Still uncapped at senior level, that goal took the former England Under-21 international’s league tally in 2020 to 10 goals in 21 appearances, at an average of a goal every 174 minutes.
Speaking on BBC’s Final Score, former Premier League striker Jermaine Beckford said: “The biggest difference I’ve seen in [Calvert-Lewin] since Ancelotti has been in charge is his ruthlessness in front of goal. He’s missing nothing.
“He’s becoming an efficient number nine, something Everton have been lacking for a while now.”
Danny Ings (Southampton)
Southampton’s Danny Ings looks hungry to mount another Premier League Golden Boot challenge this term, with three goals from his opening three games.
Since the beginning of last season Ings has scored 25 of Southampton’s 54 Premier League goals – 46% of Saints’ total league goals in that time – with only Leicester’s Vardy (28) scoring more in that period.
The former Liverpool forward, 28, has scored 10 goals in 12 league games since football restarted in June and 13 in 21 games in 2020 – converting almost a quarter of his 53 shots this calendar year in the process.
Seemingly as sharp as ever before, Ings has massively outperformed his expected goals (xG) value of 9.7 in 2020 – the only English striker bar Kane mentioned here to do so.
So far he has played just 55 minutes for England and most recently featured for 22 minutes against Iceland on 5 September – 1,790 days on from his first international appearance in October 2015.
Patrick Bamford (Leeds)
What a start to life in the Premier League it has been for Patrick Bamford. Having scored 16 goals in the Championship last season, the 27-year-old has scored in all three of Leeds’ opening fixtures.
While it might be a bit early to begin talking about Bamford for England, his late winner against Sheffield United on Sunday made him the first player to score in his first three top-flight appearances for Leeds as he settles in nicely to the rhythm of top-flight football.
Bamford is just the third player to score on the first three matchdays of a Premier League season for a newly-promoted team, while his nine league goals in 2020 is bettered only by Ings, Vardy and Calvert-Lewin.
Having previously made two U21s appearances under Southgate, if he can continue to impress in the Premier League this season, who knows?
Tammy Abraham (Chelsea)
The arrival of Germany forward Timo Werner from RB Leipzig in the summer looked set to limit Tammy Abraham’s opportunities following a breakthrough 2019-20 season, but Chelsea manager Frank Lampard made space for both in his starting line-up on Saturday – with Abraham scoring a last-gasp equaliser against West Brom.
That made it two goals in a week for Abraham, who also scored against Barnsley in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday, though he has scored just four league goals in 17 appearances so far in 2020 despite an expected goals (xG) value of double that.
He has so far made four substitute appearances for England and will be hoping to rediscover the form that saw him make a blistering start to the 2019-20 season – in which he scored eight in eight league games – in order to reassert himself as a reliable option for Southgate.
Callum Wilson (Newcastle)
With the very last kick of Newcastle’s trip to Tottenham on Sunday, Callum Wilson stepped up to score his second goal in three games since joining the Magpies from relegated Bournemouth for about £20m in September.
Wilson has one England goal in four appearances, scoring on his debut against the United States in November 2018, and he won his most recent international cap in a 6-0 win over Bulgaria in October 2019.
Reunited with former Bournemouth team-mate Ryan Fraser in the North East, with whom he has combined for a total of 13 Premier League goals, Wilson will be hoping to hit it off with Fraser once more to have a shot at a place in Southgate’s future plans.
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