Harry Kane’s glittering 2014/15 campaign made it impossible for Roy Hodgson not to select the Tottenham star for England’s games against Lithuania and Italy and the striker’s hat-trick against Leicester must’ve proved to the national boss he has to start both matches.
The 21-year-old’s fox-catching treble took his tally to 19 for the season, a figure more attractive names such as Sergio Aguero, Diego Costa and Alexis Sanchez are all unable to match.
The Three Lions are a microscopic 6/5 to down Lithuania with a two-goal handicap at Wembley and while the decision to include Kane for the game or not is likely to have little bearing on the result, the case to start him is a compelling one.
Currently on a run of ten goals in nine domestic outings, the Enfield native has notched against foes of varying stature, foiling Liverpool and Arsenal’s best laid plans to keep him quiet, as well as denting the survival hopes of QPR and Leicester.
His physical presence and lethal finishing makes him the ideal partner for the more creative Wayne Rooney, whose technical brilliance would be better utilised alongside, or slightly deeper than, the hustle and bustle of Kane.
It’s a potential combination that reflects the Spurs younger’s prosperous double act with Christian Eriksen, which has resulted in the Dane bagging nine league strikes to supplement his striker’s 19.
Daniel Sturridge, the man who’ll likely get the nod against the eastern Europeans, has proved himself to be largely unreliable when it comes to fitness and form for the Three Lions.
He has mustered a paltry five competitive caps since joining Liverpool midway through the 2012/13 season.
In the 53 games he has played for the Reds, Sturridge has returned a staggering 35 goals.
Across his England career, his output has been significantly reduced, with just five goals scored in 16 caps.
Roughly one in three isn’t an awful strike rate, but the Birmingham boy’s frequent absences make him anything but build-the-team-around-him material.
Kane has avoided the sick bay throughout his fantastic campaign, suggesting he doesn’t suffer from the same injury-proneness that has blighted his Three Lions colleague and would be a more reliable asset as Hodgson plots his assault on Euro 2016.