The international games this week give Premier League clubs a very welcome break, with Liverpool one such club planning to take advantage by spending the week in the warmth of Tenerife.
Most of their players, however, will be on international duty anyway. England will play against Germany and the Netherlands in preparation for the upcoming European Cup and Daniel Sturridge, having only recently returned from long-term injury, has finally re-joined the national team for the friendly games against these two European giants.
Sturridge has repeatedly suffered his injuries while serving for the national team, but there is some good news for Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp this time with England boss Roy Hodgson having more striking options at his disposal. The most obvious of those is Harry Kane, the Tottenham Hotspur striker who appears to be a more dangerous finisher than either Sturridge or Wayne Rooney at the moment.
Rooney’s long-term lay-off through a ligament injury means that even if he can make it for the European Cup this summer, he will not be at his peak. But frankly, Rooney has a habit of under-performing at international level and Sturridge’s injury record means Hodgson will have to prepare a Plan B or even a Plan A that doesn’t include the Liverpool Striker. So, who other than Harry Kane can feature in this position?
With his second brace in as many games, Kane has now netted 21 league goals so far this season to replace Jamie Vardy as top goal-scorer in the league – two clear of his nearest competitor. Kane is a complete forward. He can play as a target man with strong header and is also very good at the edge of the box. His shooting accuracy and power is reminiscent of Mario Balotelli at his peak. Setting his target at breaking Alan Shearer’s 260 division goal record, the 22-year-old knows he still has a long way to go, which has helped him stay grounded. That attitude will keep him improving.
Vardy gives the manager more options although the Foxes’ man appears to be flourishing in Leicester’s specific system which utilizes Vardy’s work-rate and speed by utilizing a unique and efficient counter-attack methodology.
We are witnessing more young strikers coming through too. Marcus Rashford, the young Manchester United striker, appears to be another pearl from the Red Devils academy. Striker is not a position in which England has historically been blessed but we may finally be witnessing a change of tide. With so many good strikers to pick from, Hodgson is faced with a welcome dilemma.