England kick-off their 2018 World Cup campaign against Tunisia on Monday night and it’s an opening fixture that Gareth Southgate’s side are expected to win.
The Three Lions are likely to start with Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling in attack, although Southgate will have other options available from the substitutes’ bench if he needs them.
Jamie Vardy, Danny Welbeck and Marcus Rashford are the other three forwards Southgate opted to take as part of his 23-man squad to Russia this summer.
Of all Southgate’s picks, it was the inclusion of Welbeck which sparked the most debate among England football fans.
The injury-prone Arsenal striker has only managed to score 10 goals in 43 matches for his club this season - five of which were registered in the Premier League - and many supporters weren’t convinced the 27-year-old deserved a place in the squad.
Welbeck has struggled for fitness and form since joining Arsenal from Manchester United in 2014.
Injuries have hindered his spell at the Emirates Stadium, where he has scored a rather underwhelming 27 goals in 112 games.
Welbeck's international record is decent
However, no player has scored more international goals in England’s World Cup squad than the much-maligned forward.
In 39 matches, Welbeck has netted 16 goals.
Peter Crouch boasted a similar impressive goalscoring tally for England.
Between 2005-2010, Crouch scored 22 goals in 42 games at international level.
Crouch makes a great point about Welbeck
The Stoke City striker has cast his verdict on all 23 of England’s players ahead of the big kick-off and he’s made the perfectly valid point that Welbeck could end up being ‘crucial’ for Southgate’s side over the next few weeks.
“You forget just how good he had been for England before he suffered a long-term injury,” Crouch told the Daily Mail.
“Some are more consistent for their country than club and Danny is one.
“He's a very good international player and has scored more goals for England than any other player in the squad.
“He could be crucial.”
Indeed, Welbeck does appear to be more effective and consistent at international level than when he’s with his club.
Some players just suit international football better and Welbeck, as Crouch says, could end up proving that Southgate was right to take him to Russia.
Watch this space.
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