After reading Kuber’s post, I was wondering what the English starting pair of strikers would be.
For the first time after the 2002 World Cup (Michael Owen, Teddy Sheringham, Robbie Fowler), England finally has a wide variety of top-class forwards. Based on their tactics in the qualifying and friendly games in the last two years, they will most likely rotate between 4-4-2 (diamond) and 4-3-3. However, considering they have Wayne Rooney, Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy, Daniel Sturridge, Danny Welbeck and Theo Walcott, it would be unwise to play with only one striker.
Let’s assume Roy Hodgson thinks the same way I do and decides to start with a diamond version of 4-4-2.
Vardy & Rooney
It is probably the most useless pair that can start for England. Rooney tends to control the ball and make informed decisions, while Vardy is akin to a lightning quickly breaking into the box either with the ball or waiting for a through ball from his teammates. Vardy needs an unselfish partner who can make quick decisions, and Rooney does not fall under this category.
Kane & Sturridge
Harry Kane is very similar to Luis Suarez when it comes to flair and high press. Both strikers can not only score goals but also create chances for their teammates. Recall that Daniel Sturridge had his best season when he played with Suarez. Of course, Kane is overall a worse striker than Suarez, but how many central forwards do you know who are better than Suarez? It would be interesting to watch this pair play.
Kane & Vardy
I chose this pair for the most obvious reasons: both are the two top-scorers of the British Premier League and both play in two best teams in the league. However, this pair may only be efficient against stronger opponents when England will not be able to control the game. Considering their weaker opponents at the group stage, England will have to play from a position of strength, and this pair might not be as effective as we think it would. But I would love to see them play in the play-offs if England faces Germany, France or Belgium.
Walcott & Rooney
Walcott and Rooney are the most experienced English strikers at the moment. However, their current physical form is an obvious stumbling block to see them play together. Both players need to convince Roy Hodgson of their aptitude; otherwise they are at risk of watching Euro-games from the bench.
Welbeck & Rooney
Their past collaboration in Manchester United made them become the top two goal-scorers for the national team. There is only one problem: Rooney has been mainly used as a midfielder in the last few years, and he might have lost some of his striker qualities.
Kane & Rooney
In my opinion, this pair has an ideal balance of creativity, flair and playmaking. It is the most likely pair to start at the Euro 2016. They have what it takes to crack tightly closed defensive redoubts or use the space in counter-attacks against bigger teams. Also, Rooney does not need to relearn how to score and can play as a seconda punta (a striker whose main function is to create, not to score) in tandem with the great finisher that Kane is.
I think Kane and Rooney would be an ideal pair to start with, while Vardy and Walcott could be used as aces in the hole to come on as substitutions.
I would love to hear your opinion on the starting pair of strikers, as there are definitely more variations that I did not mention.