Roy Hodgson has dropped a heavy hint that Tottenham’s Harry Kane will feature in his England squad for the up-coming clashes against Italy and Lithuania.
Asked about the red-hot White Hart Lane resident, The Three Lions supremo rhetorically questioned reporters:
“Is he worth a place in the squad now? Of course he is”.
It was a heartening response from the manager of national side that has often seemed like a closed shop for a select few elite players under previous incumbents.
Hodgson also spared time to praise both Burnley’s Danny Ings, who he suggested was “someone we need to keep an eye on” and waxed lyrical about Raheem Sterling of Liverpool’s growing maturity.
All three are included in our ‘England team on current form’ selected in recognition of the Croydon tactician’s refreshing willingness to blooding new talent.
Fraser Forster gets the nod in nets thanks to a stellar 14 clean sheets in all competitions for Southampton this term.
‘La Gran Muralla’ is joined in this temporally-tinged XI by St Mary’s matey Nathaniel Clyne.
More than simply Forster’s ally in the Premier League’s meanest rearguard, Clyne is a vibrant-attacking force far more deserving of the right-back berth than any of a handful of moonlighting centre-halves.
John Terry may no longer be available for selection, but that doesn’t mean he’s not the best English central defender currently in operation.
That there are a dearth of such operatives is clear from the fact that West Ham’s James Tomkins is selected alongside him after a solid campaign so far.
Leighton Baines retains his status, having created eight goals for his misfiring Everton teammates this term, more than anyone apart in the English top flight besides Chelsea’s Cesc Fabregas.
Ryan Mason’s all-action presence at the base of the diamond highlights not just his strong form in an improving Tottenham side but the dearth of defensive-midfielders available to Hodgson.
However, further forward there is cause to rejoice, with James ‘Hames’ Milner regularly making match-winning contributions in a variety of roles for Manchester City.
Meanwhile, Stewart Downing’s phoenix-from-the-flames career upturn shows little sing of abating – only four players average more Premier League key passes than the son of the Tees.
Their names? Fabregas, Samir Nasri, Alexis Sanchez and Eden Hazard.