England’s no.9 should come from which club? – Liverpool, Manchester United or Leicester City?

By Mark Peters IN General - 20:00 Oct 6th 2016
 

The absence of Harry Kane through injury means that Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge, Marcus Rashford and Jamie Vardy will compete for the central striking role in Gareth Southgate’s first England team. Malta will be the opposition at Wembley on Saturday evening, so whoever gets the nod has an opportunity to fill their boots.

Based on the form of the four men in the Premier League so far this season, who should be given the green light to lead the line for their country?

WAYNE ROONEY VS MARCUS RASHFORD

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has not missed a minute of Manchester United’s Premier League campaign since signing for the club in the summer, so any starts made by Wayne Rooney and Marcus Rashford have not been as a centre-forward:

Wayne
Rooney
versusMarcus
Rashford
FWDPOSITIONFWD
30Y 11MAGE18Y 11M
5FT 10INHEIGHT5FT 11IN
13ST 0LBWEIGHT11ST 0LB
 
PL | MNU | | MNU | PL
06/16 - 06/1706/16 - 06/17
5
STARTS
3
478
MINS
PLAYED
327
1
GOALS
3
2
ASSISTS
OPENING
GOALS
1
1
WINNING
GOALS
1
HOME
GOALS
1
1
AWAY
GOALS
2
HEADED
GOALS
GOALS
R/L FOOT
R
2
478
MINS
PER GOAL
109
3
TOTAL
6

The England captain began the season in a no.10 role, but his return of just one top-flight goal has seen the 30-year-old relegated to the bench recently. His 18-year-old colleague, by way of contrast, has forced his way into Jose Mourinho’s starting XI, albeit in a wide position, rewarding his manager’s faith by scoring once every 109 minutes in the league.

JAMIE VARDY VS DANIEL STURRIDGE

Jamie Vardy started the 2016/17 campaign in decent form, scoring twice in Leicester’s opening four Premier League fixtures. The presence of Islam Slimani seems to have affected him, however, with the England international failing to find the net since being paired with the Algerian in attack:

Jamie
Vardy
versusDaniel
Sturridge
FWDPOSITIONFWD
29Y 8MAGE27Y 1M
5FT 10INHEIGHT6FT 1IN
11ST 13LBWEIGHT11ST 13LB
 
PL | LEI | | LIV | PL
06/16 - 06/1706/16 - 06/17
7
STARTS
3
561
MINS
PLAYED
288
2
GOALS
1
ASSISTS
1
1
OPENING
GOALS
WINNING
GOALS
1
HOME
GOALS
1
AWAY
GOALS
HEADED
GOALS
R
1
GOALS
R/L FOOT
281
MINS
PER GOAL
8
TOTAL

Daniel Sturridge has looked pretty lively in his 288 minutes of top-flight football for Liverpool this season, but he just can’t seem to force himself into Jürgen Klopp’s starting XI often enough. Having failed to score in the league so far this term, confidence could also be an issue.

THOUGHTS

Gareth Southgate is likely to shy away from making any controversial decisions, so expect Wayne Rooney to keep his place in the side. The Manchester United man doesn’t have the pace to play through the middle, so one of the other three is likely to lead the line. Based on current form and the fact that he has worked with the manager before at Under-21 level, then Rashford is the obvious choice. I cannot help but feel, however, that he will opt for the experience of Sturridge.

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