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The England Striker Pecking Order: Who Goes to Qatar?


The England Striker Pecking Order: Who Goes to Qatar?

The biggest event in football is fast approaching, as fans all over the globe begin to count down to the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Up and down the country, England supporters will be debating their formations, defensive partnerships and various other factors which manager Gareth Southgate is tasked with resolving.

One of the most intriguing aspects of the Three Lions’ squad is who Southgate will choose to act as understudy to captain Harry Kane, who has established himself as the first name on the team sheet, due to his phenomenal goalscoring record. With less than three weeks to go until kick-off in Qatar, which strikers have staked the greatest claim in reserving their seat on the plane?

spurs Kane

Their Spot to Lose

The latest England squad that faced Germany and Italy last month saw three centre forwards named by Southgate, with Roma’s Tammy Abraham and Brentford’s Ivan Toney joining Kane.

Abraham has seen his career revived after a stuttering spell under Thomas Tuchel at Chelsea, linking up with ex-Blues boss Jose Mourinho to win the inaugural UEFA Conference League.

Now 25 years old and enjoying his role as the focal point in Roma’s attack, the former Aston Villa loanee scored 27 goals in all competitions last season, more than any other English striker across Europe’s top leagues, and with Abraham offering a more mobile style than Kane, Southgate may see him as the main alternative to the Tottenham man, if required.

When Southgate took over as England boss in 2016, he promised to pick players based on merit, and not for their reputation, which has perhaps never been more prominent than with the case of Ivan Toney. The Brentford man was playing his football in League One when Southgate first took charge of the national team, on a half-season loan at Shrewsbury Town, but has since announced himself to English football as one of the most prolific strikers in the country. Despite his recent call-up, Toney is yet to win his first cap for England, but if he continues his current league form, he will be sure to get the opportunity in Qatar.

Tammy Abraham to make the World Cup squad: 1/3

Ivan Toney to make the World Cup squad: 1/2

Roma, Abraham, Mourinho

Knocking on the Door

A couple of campaigns blighted by injuries has seen Callum Wilson’s England opportunities vanish, having not played for his country since 2019.

In four appearances for the Three Lions, Wilson scored just the solitary goal, in his debut against the USA back in 2018, where England ran out as 3-0 winners. A return to fitness could see the Newcastle striker bolster his chances of making the World Cup squad, as four goals in eight Premier League games so far this season has helped the Magpies break into the top four.

The 30-year-old also offers a slightly different mould to that of Abraham and Toney, two taller strikers, which may be of interest to Southgate, if he is to look for a variety of attacking profiles within his squad.

Callum Wilson to make the World Cup squad: 4/1

To Make England World Cup 2022 26 Man Squad Odds

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Callum Wilson @ 4/1

Race Against Time to Prove his Fitness

Having last appeared for England in the Quarter Final of Euro 2020, Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s development has been heavily hampered by a plethora of injuries.

Once the guaranteed understudy to Kane, Calvert-Lewin now faces an uphill battle to not only prove his fitness, but, also his form, in the wake of the arrival of Toney on the international scene.

The Everton striker has made two Premier League starts this season upon his return, scoring in a 3-0 victory over Crystal Palace last weekend, and with just four games to go until the World Cup, time is running out if he is to reignite his international career before the end of the year.

One factor that may work in his favour is Southgate’s loyalty to players that he trusts, and as Calvert-Lewin has already featured at one tournament under the current manager, this credit in the bank could book him a surprise seat on the flight to Qatar.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin to make the World Cup squad: 8/1

To Make England World Cup 2022 26 Man Squad Odds

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Dominic Calvert-Lewin @ 8/1