As Euro 2016 nears ever closer, Roy Hodgson will soon face the unenviable task of choosing his 23-man squad. One position of great significance is England's forward line, with many players hoping to represent the three lions this summer.
Numerous players such as Jamie Vardy and Harry Kane have demonstrated their terrific goal-scoring ability over the past year, while others returning from injury, namely Daniel Sturridge and Danny Welbeck, have also shown over the past few weeks that they deserve a place in Hodgson's squad.
This leaves the England manager in a serious dilemma over who should start the first group game on 11th June against Russia. It also begs the question: would it be more beneficial for Hodgson to drop his captain Wayne Rooney?
BECOME A WRITER
Do you have what it takes? Sign up today and send over your 250 word test article: http://gms.to/haveyoursay3
Article continues below
Now at the age of 30, one could argue that Rooney's best days are behind him. As each season has passed, both his pace and movement have continued to decrease, while his weight has been questioned time and time again. The Manchester United captain no longer has the pace the beat players, and instead, now relies on his intelligence and technical ability, rather than his physical attributes.
That said, Rooney is still a wonderfully gifted footballer, capable of both scoring and creating goals. However over the past three years, his performances may suggest it is time for someone new to head England's attack.
Article continues below
The 2011/12 season was the last campaign Rooney scored more than 20 goals in all competitions, and since then his goal-scoring rate has slowed down. This is, in part due to him playing in a deeper role off the main striker rather than being the focal point of the attack. It also reflects his lack of pace that he now feels the need to come short to receive the ball, rather than being played in behind.
Over the past few seasons, it has become harder to distinguish whether Rooney is a striker or an attacking midfielder.
While his goal-scoring form for England has been ever impressive, it would be wise to remember many of his goals come against severely weaker opposition, where his experience and knowledge of the game exploit such teams.
Come Euro 2016, against stronger opposition, it may be more prudent for Hodgson to drop his captain in favour of someone bearing pace, movement and a more consistent goal-scoring rate for their club.
Harry Kane would be the obvious choice, and looks a complete forward capable of scoring different types of goals. He would be a strong vocal point for England's attack, and has scored 37 goals in his last 60 Premier League appearances. His tutelage under Mauricio Pochettino has improved his game even further and he will certainly be one of England's key danger-men at the tournament.
Jamie Vardy has terrorised many Premier League defences this season, scoring 19 goals so far. His pace and movement are something Europe's top sides will fear dealing with come June, yet it is his improved finishing which means Roy Hodgson should certainly consider Vardy in his plans.
Others vying for a spot will be Daniel Sturridge and Danny Welbeck, both of whom are fresh back from injury. While both have a lot to prove from now until the end of the season, both have already shown what they can offer. Sturridge is clinical in front of goal and perhaps England's most skilful forward, while Welbeck boasts terrific movement and pace, and will compliment whichever partner he would be paired with.
To drop Rooney would be incredibly brave on Roy Hodgson's part, and he would receive the full backlash of such a decision should England underperform at the tournament. To drop his captain would be to incur the wrath of both the fans and media. However, to do so may be of great benefit to England.
Having a quick, energetic forward-line full of pace and movement may serve English interests better against stronger opposition. Leaving Rooney out is undoubtedly a considerable risk, although one which may serve to propel England further into the competition than they have been for many years.