Callum Wilson, Glenn Murray and Danny Ings are all on hot streaks in the Premier League… but which hopeful will bag a spot in England squad?
- Jamie Vardy’s England retirement has freed up a spot in the upcoming squad
- Callum Wilson staked his claim after scoring six Premier League goals already
- Glenn Murray also has six, while Danny Ings will want to add to his single cap
- All three will perhaps be watching their phones closely come Thursday morning
Wayne Rooney’s unexpected, solitary recall aside, the retirement of Jamie Vardy from international football has opened up a longer-term space for a new striker in Gareth Southgate’s England squad.
Harry Kane’s place in non-negotiable of course, and Raheem Sterling is viewed as a centre-forward option for his country. Marcus Rashford is another certainty. But beyond that there is opportunity for someone.
Southgate trusts Danny Welbeck to do a job and his versatility is a benefit but there are three out-and-out strikers doing well this season that might just make sure their phone is charged come Thursday’s squad announcement. Sportsmail assesses their chances.
Jamie Vardy’s England retirement has left the door ajar for other strikers to make their mark
Callum Wilson, six Premier Legue goals
This time last season Wilson had yet to score in the top-flight, having only returned from his cruciate knee ligament injury in late October. Finishing with eight Premier League goals for the campaign was a commendable total after nine months out but he should easily surpass that this time.
Matches played: 11
Goals scored: 6
Shots per game: 2.7
Pass Success: 65.1 per cent
At his current rate, he could get close to 20 and that number would affirm an elite-level ability. Now 26, he is entering his peak and has improved under Eddie Howe’s coaching to a point where his finishing is matched by link-up play. He makes smart runs, and carries good athleticism – playing all but 23 minutes of the Premier League campaign.
He could easily fit in with England’s system, as a direct replacement for Kane having operated up front on his own for Bournemouth since signing in 2014 for £3million. Howe’s team operate with clear structure but also fluidity of movement so Wilson’s style would transpose to the international stage, adding to his one England Under-21 cap.
Callum Wilson is entering his peak years and already has six Premier League goals this season
Wilson netted Bournemouth’s only goal in the 2-1 defeat by Manchester United on Saturday
Glenn Murray, six Premier League goals
The number mentioned when Murray’s international pedigree gets proposed tends to be his age. But more and more it is his goals tally. He may be 35 but he is probably playing the best football of his career.
Matches played: 10 (1)
Goals scored: 6
Shots per game: 1.3
Pass Success: 56.9 per cent
His approach has never relied on speed, more wiliness, so the experience he has collected is only adding to his productivity. He thrives on getting touch close to defenders, making himself an unsettling presence and using all the little nudges to set up a later move, like a spin bowler might eventually take a wicket LBW.
He scored 12 Premier League goals last season and is halfway there this term. And they have been important contributions too. Brighton have eight more points because of Murray, and against Wolves and Manchester United the finishes were difficult indeed. He showed his mettle with the late penalty to earn a point at Southampton.
He might not seem to tesselate with Southgate’s plans for a vibrant, youthful England side but his consistency demands attention. He is intelligent and has adapted his game over time to get the best from his winter years. He looks after his body immaculately and maintains a steady mentality.
Glenn Murray may be 35 but he is playing the best football of his career down at Brighton
Murray is intelligent and has adapted his game over time to get the best from his winter years
Danny Ings, four Premier League goals
Southgate gave Ings his England Under-21 debut back in October 2013 and could yet decide he merits adding to his single senior cap. Ings got that under Roy Hodgson when coming on as a substitute in Lithuania in October 2015 but the serious injuries he subsequently suffered placed his career on hold.
Matches played: 9 (1)
Goals scored: 4
Shots per game: 3.2
Pass Success: 72.7 per cent
People at Liverpool speak with major warmth about Ings and the way he handled such a difficult period. He completed his rehabilitations with a positive mindset and such good character is a major plus in the international game, where a good mood in camp is essential.
Ings only started six Premier League games for Liverpool in three years but he has quelled any doubts over his fitness by beginning nine for Southampton already, and showing all that guile and drive that convinced Brendan Rodgers to sign him from Burnley. His goal at Crystal Palace, a clinical finish, the highlight so far.
Many questions were asked about Danny Ings’ fitness but he has proven his doubters wrong
Ings has one England cap to his name, coming on against Lithuania back in October 2015
P.S. Daniel Sturridge scored his screamer at Chelsea to reprise hopes of an England recall, taking his total in all competitions this season to four. Yet he has not found the net since, starting only once.
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