Not since 2000 has an Englishman won the Premier League Golden Boot. Back then it was Kevin Phillips, becoming the first man from England to score 30 goals in a 38 game Premier League season. Now, Jamie Vardy looks like he could put an end to the wait for an Englishman to win the award, and with Harry Kane just two goals behind him, both should be key players for the Three Lions at Euro 2016 in France this summer.
In terms of in-form strikers in the Premier League, Vardy and Kane must be considered top of the list.
After an impressive season last time out that saw Vardy earn his first international call-up, the former non-league player has stepped up this campaign and proved to be among the deadliest frontmen in the division, a reputation greatly enhanced by a run which saw him break Ruud van Nistelrooy’s record for scoring in the most consecutive games, by striking in his 11th game against Manchester United in November.
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On the contrary, Kane proved his goal scoring credentials last year, firstly breaking into the Tottenham side in the Europa League, then forcing his way into the Premier League XI, where he would score 21 goals in just 34 games. He has defied his critics by continuing that form this season, netting 19 league goals so far this campaign, proving he is no one-season wonder.
In terms of the number of goals, only Jermain Defoe is the only other Englishman to make it to double figures in the Premier League this season, and it seems unlikely Roy Hodgson would select him, given that he hasn’t played for England since 2013. Troy Deeney is the next Englishman down the list, and he is still 11 goals behind Vardy.
Wayne Rooney is England’s captain, so will be guaranteed a seat on the plane, but there is enough evidence to suggest he doesn’t deserve one. The 30-year-old has scored only one goal in major international tournaments since he burst onto the scene at Euro 2004, and he has scored just four Premier League goals this season.
If Hodgson was to pick his squad based purely on form and fitness, with his current injury, Rooney would not make the trip to France. He is also very much a player that top defenders have got used to playing against and worked out how to stop. Kane and Vardy offer the element of surprise, with not only the ability to finish, but Kane’s movement off the ball and Vardy’s tremendous turn of pace.
England are massive outsiders for the tournament in France, but they have a much better chance of going all the way in the competition if Hodgson picks Vardy and Kane through the middle.