England’s remaining scheduled fixtures before the start of their European Championship campaign on June 11 are next month against world champions Germany and the Netherlands. That gives England manager Roy Hodgson just 180 minutes of game time and under four months to weigh up all his options and pick his final squad for this summer’s tournament.
Although there are two other fixtures for England in the pipeline which are yet to be announced.
There has been a growing belief that Hodgson tends to pick his squads from a select group of players and teams. In the past few years, it has been extremely difficult for players outside of the Premier League’s top six or seven clubs to break into the England setup.
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Englishmen such as Stoke captain Ryan Shawcross and West Ham skipper Mark Noble have performed consistently at the highest level for a number of seasons now but have seemingly gone unnoticed.
Meanwhile, Southampton striker Charlie Austin boasts a fantastic Premier League record of 20 goals in 39 games and surely deserves an opportunity to prove himself at international level.
Austin may not have played Premier League football for as long as the likes of Noble and Shawcross but he has certainly made just as big an impact at the top level. In a poor QPR team that suffered relegation from the top flight last season, Austin finished the campaign with 18 goals which included some sensational strikes.
The 26-year-old is a physical centre-forward who can hold the ball up well and who never gives defenders a moment’s peace, but he also possesses good technique and is a very willing runner. At Burnley, he showed signs of clinical finishing at Championship level, but his record since he stepped up to the Premier League proves that he is a natural in front of goal.
Switch to Southampton
Southampton arguably pulled off the best purchase of the entire January transfer window in terms of value for money when they brought Austin to St Mary’s for a mere £4 million. He marked his debut for Ronald Koeman’s side by coming off the bench and heading in the winner against Manchester United at Old Trafford.
The former Swindon Town man did receive a call-up to the national team last May for a friendly match and a Euro 2016 qualifier but he didn’t feature in either game. There’s no doubt that Austin’s decision to join the Saints, who currently lie sixth in the Premier League table, should only improve his chances of getting the England call once again.
Competition for places
The problem for Austin is that he faces exceptionally stiff and direct competition for an England place in the form of Premier league top scorer Jamie Vardy, Tottenham's Harry Kane, and the country’s all-time leading goalscorer Wayne Rooney.
It’s almost guaranteed that those three men will be on the plane to France, whilst other strikers like Daniel Sturridge and Danny Welbeck have recently returned to full fitness and are scoring goals in time to also be a part of Hodgson’s plans.
Could Charlie Austin receive a call-up for the friendlies next month? Give us your opinion in the comment box below!