As England’s Euro 2016 opener against Russia approaches, the debate surrounding who Roy Hodgson should start upfront rages on.
Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy, Daniel Sturridge, Wayne Rooney and Marcus Rashford were the five strikers chosen to travel to France, but only one - or perhaps two - can claim a starting berth.
Much will depend on the formation Hodgson opts for in France, but 4-2-3-1 appears most likely.
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Kane is the outright favourite to be England’s first-choice striker following a season where the 22-year-old finished top goalscorer in the Premier League with 25 strikes.
However, for Manchester United legend Andy Cole, Kane isn’t Hodgson’s best option up top - nor, in fact, is 24-goal Vardy.
No, in the 44-year-old’s mind, Sturridge is England’s superior striker.
Cole told Omnisport, per FourFourTwo: “[Sturridge] is England’s best centre forward when fit.
“I know Kane has had a very good season and Vardy has had an unbelievable season, especially after he got five goals last season and 24 this year - that’s phenomenal.
“But keep Sturridge kit and he is England’s best centre forward. The goal he got in the Europa League final was majestic.
“The goals he has got for Liverpool this season when he’s fit - and also when he was at Chelsea and Man City - show that. There are not many centre forwards who can do what he can do.”
Sturridge’s ability is undeniable, but the simple fact of the matter is that he can’t maintain fitness.
Were it not for various hamstring, ankle and knee injuries over the past year, the 26-year-old could well have finished top goalscorer in the Premier League last term, such is the quality of his record for Liverpool.
That isn’t the case, though, and it would be impossible for Hodgson to start Sturridge over Kane or Vardy, the latter firing Leicester City to the title.
Cole also believes that Rooney deserves to start, whether it’s upfront or in midfield.
“Of course he does,” he said when asked if England’s captain deserved a starting role. “He might have had a dip in form last season, but Wayne Rooney has been Manchester United’s mainstay for numerous years and he has done that for England as well.
“He has played in several positions - left, right, upfront and in midfield - I think he deserves his place where England decide to play him.
“I would most probably play him in behind the strikers or in midfield. He has got the quality to play in those areas, but it is whatever Hodgson wants to do."
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