With so much football in the offing before next summer’s European Championships, predicting England’s chosen 23 in the latter part of November is precarious by nature, but if he is fit and firing, Daniel Sturridge has to be among Roy Hodgson’s contingent.
This could well spell very bad news for Leicester’s Premier League record-hunting striker Jamie Vardy.
Although Sturridge has only completed 90 minutes once this season, appearing just three times overall for Liverpool and scoring a solitary goal, he’s proven himself to be a world-class talent.
Alongside Luis Suarez, the former Manchester City academy product lit up the Premier League during the 2013/14 campaign, finishing second behind the Uruguayan magician in the scoring charts with 21 to his name – 25 in all competitions.
It is well documented that things have not gone anywhere near as swimmingly in the intervening season and a third however, with a string of injuries severely curtailing his playing time and casting serious doubt over his ability to bounce back to those levels.
Unfortunately for Sturridge, who was one of only two England scorers during the Three Lions’ ill-fated 2014 World Cup, as another international tournament looms others have been making hay in his absence.
If skipper Wayne Rooney is a given for Hodgson to take to France, barring injury, Tottenham sensation Harry Kane is another name almost universally penned in by the public, and no doubt the manager himself.
Five or even six into four won’t go
Going by recent tournament squads, that leaves two remaining striker spots to be contested and going on form right now Vardy is in pole position for one of them.
The forgotten man in the picture is Danny Welbeck, who is nearing a return after a lengthy injury which has kept him sidelined at Arsenal for the entire campaign to date.
However, if Welbeck can play his way back to fitness at the Emirates, and time is on his side, then his remarkable record of nearly a goal every two games for his country renders the Gunner another player Hodgson will be loathed to leave out.
Sturridge v Vardy
Sturridge could well be on a number nine collision course with Vardy for the final spot therefore, assuming Theo Walcott uses up one of the ‘attacking midfield berths instead.
The Liverpool and Leicester strikers look to be in direct competition from this point onwards, with Sturridge reportedly on the cusp of his latest comeback as Liverpool head to the Etihad to face league leaders Manchester City.
It is all ifs, buts and maybes right now with none greater than the question marks surrounding Sturridge’s ability to maintain fitness, which could be Vardy’s trump card.
Even in spite of Vardy’s Leicester heroics, the 28-year-old has yet to make an impression internationally from a smattering of recent chances, so when he looks over his shoulder, it will be Sturridge’s shadow that England’s vogue striker should fear most.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
Fancy a flutter? Sign up today to claim up to £50 in free bets.