Why Harry Kane Should Start For England… And Jack Colback
It was the first weekend in a while that Harry Kane didn’t score. As Spurs weren’t playing. Kane is the Premier League’s in-form striker in 2015 and is a shoo-in for Roy Hodgson’s next England squad.
But should he start in place of more experienced forwards like Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck and Daniel Sturridge?
We’ve looked at the Fantasy Football stats for the season so far and based the next England team on that, which makes for some interesting reading. The only misnomer is that Daniel Sturridge, who has missed the majority of the season through injury is probably a definite starter for Hodgson if fit.
Goalkeeper – Fraser Forster
Manchester City’s Joe Hart hasn’t done a whole lot wrong this season – compared to previous error-strewn campaigns – but Southampton’s Fraser Forster’s been even better.
The Saints stopper has kept twelve clean sheets and conceded just seventeen goals so far this term, playing only two games more than Hart who has conceded 21 goals and kept just seven clean sheets.
Left-Back – Ryan Bertrand
Southampton’s Ryan Bertrand just edges out Everton’s Leighton Baines for the left-back berth – with Manchester United’s Luke Shaw’s campaign hampered by injury so far.
Bertrand’s played only a couple of minutes less than Baines but, despite the latter’s more attacking threat, the former Chelsea defender’s part in the league’s most miserly defence guarantees his spot. West Ham’s impressive summer signing Aaron Creswell isn’t far behind.
Central Defence – Phil Jagielka & Gary Cahill
With England’s top central defender statistically – John Terry – retired from international duty – it leaves Phil Jagielka and Gary Cahill as Hodgson’s best pairing based on league form this season.
The pair were the preferred partnership for England’s last qualifier, and with justification as only Joleon Lescott comes close to their Fantasy Football points total this campaign.
Right-Back – Nathaniel Clyne
Another defensive spot, another Southampton selection. Clyne made his full debut in the November qualifier with Slovenia and should keep his place for the upcoming ties against Lithuania and Italy.
Centre Midfield – Stewart Downing, Jordan Henderson & Jack Colback
Downing has prospered for West Ham this season in a more central role and, statistically, is England’s most impressive midfielder in 2014/15. However, given the resources at Hodgson’s disposal it’s likely he’s been shunted out to the left of a midfield trio– as he was against Scotland in November.
Jordan Henderson, Liverpool’s captain against Crystal Palace at the weekend, has gained most from Brendan Rodgers’ rotation of Steven Gerrard in his final season at the club. He’s already equaled last term’s total of seven assists.
The uncapped Colback is a surprise inclusion, beating off more fashionable names like Jack Wilshere and Ross Barkley, following his impressive form for Newcastle United. this year. The aforementioned duo may have endured injury struggles this year but Colback’s 26 minutes per point compares admirably with his more-feted rivals.
Forwards – Raheem Sterling, Harry Kane & Charlie Austin
Sterling’s points total is slightly skewed as he’s classified as a midfielder in Fantasy Football but has played in a more offensive role at times for Liverpool,, particularly during Sturridge’s lay-off.
Based on this season’s form, Sterling would play behind a strike-force of Kane and QPR’s Charlie Austin, the latter just beating off Burnley’s Danny Ings and West Brom’s Saido Berahino for a starting place.
Obviously, it’s highly unlikely that captain Wayne Rooney will be dropped by Hodgson, with his points tally distorted by Louis van Gaal’s baffling persistence with playing him in midfield.
With Sturridge back fit – and scoring – and Rooney a definite starter, it leaves Hodgson with a dilemma around starting Kane. The stats suggest he certainly should.