England vs Brazil – The England Striker Debate Rolls On

8th November 2009 | World Cup Betting category: Football World Cup News
Football World Cup News

Brazil v England

November 14, 2009
Kick Off 5 pm
Khalifa International Stadium, Qatar

There is a lot of debate as to which striker England boss Fabio Capello will go with, when the national side head off to Qatar next weekend. Fans of World football will be treated to an England v Brazil friendly match in the Khalifa International Stadium, and both teams will be using the game to test themselves against potential threats to their own World Cup 2010 ambitions.

New father Wayne Rooney will no doubt be selected for the match by Fabio Capello, but the question is, who to partner him? For too long England have struggled to find a world class partnership up front, but now Capello is probably one of the most fortunate England managers for some time with regards to almost being spoilt for choice up front.

Throughout the qualifying campaign, Emile Heskey was the preferred starter, his side and power being used to create space for partner Rooney. A provider and a nuisance to defenders he may be, but one thing Heskey is not, is a prolific scorer, and it may get hard for the Italian coach to justify giving Heskey a place when there are better options in terms of being clinical in front of goal.

Tottenham’s Jermain Defoe exploded during the qualifiers, making the most of the chances which he was given coming off the bench. He has only just returned to the Tottenham side for their recent 2-0 win over Sunderland, and during his absence he was sorely missed, with Spurs looking lack lustre. He has speed with which to trouble defences and looks in some of the sharpest form of his career.

Ex Tottenham player Darren Bent must seriously be knocking on the door of getting a good run out for England. The Sunderland striker is the top English goal scorer in the Premier League this season, after his much publicised transfer to the Black Cats from Tottenham. With eight goals under his belt, his is looking like a goal scoring machine, and again seems to be more settled than ever at his new club, enjoying the benefits of being trusted with the responsibility of being the main source of goals.

Aston Villa’s Gabriel Agbonlahor is a youngster who has impressed over the past couple of seasons. Having played most of his debut season as a lone striker and looking uncannily accomplished at the role, with a little extra support alongside him now, he is rapidly growing in stature and composure. He scored again in Villa’s 5-1 thumping of Bolton on Saturday, and has a nice tally of 6 goals in thirteen games. He his definitely considered as a future star.

Then there is West Ham’s Carlton Cole. The ex-Chelsea striker is a little awkward, raw, but is an awesome wild card to throw on in matches. He has height, strength and shows good control on the deck as well. Playing for a struggling side such as West Ham probably is not exploiting his full talents, but still he is on the same amount of goals as Jermain Defoe.

Peter Crouch will probably still be floating around the fringes, as his height and nuisance-factor when thrown on a substitute can be a useful weapon to have in your Arsenal. Probably far down the pecking order in terms of getting a starting place, but then you never know, as he has experience, and Emile Heskey keeps getting starts. Not getting starting time at his club Spurs won’t be helping him though.

Falling down the list from his past glory days is Michael Owen. His name probably brings around bouts of headaches for Capello. He will be wondering if his move to Manchester United will really bring out the old Michael Owen who shone for England for so long. There will never be the same amount of sharpness there, and in front of goal he has shown on a few occasions this season, that his eye for goal is not what it is. Still, he is someone with a proven track record, and could be a nice boost to have sitting on the bench, a little experience like David Beckham.

The problems for Capello are, who is most likely to handle the pressure of playing against some of the top defenders in the World, and who is most likely to complement Wayne Rooney. The Premier League is a tough place, and anyone plying their trade there, will have to come against the defences of teams like Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool and especially Chelsea. It is not quite a golden age of England strikers, but it is probably the best bunch that has been available for selection for a long time.

So who will Capello go for? This being a friendly, it could start off with Heskey or Defoe, and then the likes of Cole and Agbonlahor having run outs in the second half.  Having a bench full of back up strikers is nice, but there needs to be a proven forward who can forge a long and productive partnership with the irrepressible Rooney.

Top Five English Strikers Record This Season in the Premier League:
Bent (Sunderland) 8
Rooney (Man Utd) 7
Cole (West Ham) 6
Defoe (Tottenham) 6
Agbonlahor (Aston Villa) 5

The squad is announced on the evening of Sunday, November 8th

World Cup Outright Odds:
Brazil: 5/1 at Paddy Power
England: 6/1 at William Hill

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* All mentioned odds were valid at the time of writing. Betting odds are subject to fluctuations. Please check the current odds with the respective bookmaker!

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