Injuries to Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford and Tammy Abraham have given England boss Gareth Southgate cause for concern ahead of Euro 2020, and now a possible squad outsider has joined the trio on the sidelines.
National captain Kane is not expected back in training before April after hamstring surgery, with a leading surgeon telling the PA news agency he would expect the striker to miss the showpiece tournament.
Rashford has a stress fracture of the back and, despite vowing “blink and I’ll be back, fitter than ever”, that ‘blink’ is set to take at least six weeks with the potential for a longer period of rehabilitation.
Abraham suffered an ankle injury in Chelsea’s 2-2 draw with Arsenal, although it has not yet been confirmed how long he will be out for.
Those injures led to thoughts of a recall for Jamie Vardy, who is retired from international football barring exceptional circumstances, only for the 17-goal Leicester striker to suffer a glute injury in the win over West Ham.
Here, PA takes a look at England’s other possibilities up front.
Current season: 26 appearances, 16 goals
England record: 1 cap, 0 goals
A run of 10 goals in 11 Premier League games helped the Southampton man to what is already a career-best 14 for the season, with a League Cup double against local rivals Portsmouth for good measure. That form puts him in the picture to add to his half-hour of international experience as a substitute against Lithuania in 2015.
Current season: 27 appearances, 12 goals
England record: 0 caps
Yet to make his senior international debut but an Under-20 World Cup winner in 2017, the homegrown target man has been key to Everton’s recent resurgence. He has 10 league goals this season and fired the Toffees past Sheffield Wednesday in the Carabao Cup.
Current season: 23 appearances, 6 goals
England record: 4 caps, 1 goal
The Bournemouth striker has been a fixture in England squads under Gareth Southgate, and scored a debut goal against the United States, but his form this season has been a concern. He ended a run of 1,319 minutes without a league goal against Brighton on Tuesday.
A ‘false nine’
Southgate could opt to modify his tactical approach, using regular wingers Raheem Sterling, Jadon Sancho and Callum Hudson-Odoi together in a front three. Sterling, maybe the likeliest man to take the central ‘false nine’ position, has 11 Premier League goals for Manchester City this season and 20 in all competitions, while Borussia Dortmund’s Sancho has 10 in the Bundesliga.