West Ham's Andy Carroll can be England's key to success at Euro 2016

West Ham United v Arsenal - Premier League

Harry Kane; Jamie Vardy; Daniel Sturridge; Danny Welbeck; Theo Walcott - these were the five strikers that England manager Roy Hodgson turned to during their recent international friendlies against Germany and the Netherlands. 

With captain Wayne Rooney's Euro 2016 spot all-but secured and the domestic form of Kane and Vardy guaranteeing them a place, it seemed there would be a three-horse race for the remaining two spots.

Yet as the dust settles from the weekend's Premier League action, another English striker has made a strong case - West Ham's Andy Carroll.

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In a pulsating London derby against Arsenal at the Boleyn Ground, nine minutes and 50 seconds was all the towering striker needed to make Hodgson sit up and take notice.

With half-time approaching and the Hammers 2-0 down, a long diagonal ball found Dimitri Payet in space. The Frenchman laid the ball of to left-back Aaron Cresswell who swung a delicious cross into the Arsenal box and found Carroll, the Englishman firing a header past David Ospina.

Two minutes into first-half injury time and Carroll found an equaliser. Arsenal's failed clearance from a corner fell to Mark Noble, who promptly floated the ball towards his countryman at the far post.

Bewilderingly left unmarked, West Ham's frontman had time to chest the ball down before having not one, but two attempts on goal, the second taking a minor deflection off Gabriel and into the Arsenal net.

And in unprecedenated fashion, Carroll completed a quick-fire hat-trick seven minutes into the second half.

West Ham United v Arsenal - Premier League

A searching cross from Michail Antonio from the right found a marauding Carroll at the back post, the 27-year-old overpowering Hector Bellerin and tucking his header home from close range, courtesy of yet another deflection.

It was a remarkable moment for Carroll, who perfectly showcased his attacking threat and what he brings to the table when given service.

And with Diafra Sakho's future in doubt at West Ham, the striker will be given ample opportunity between now and the end of the season to prove his fitness to Hodgson. Despite a season curtailed by injury, his seven league goals so far this season is still more than Sturridge (five), Walcott (five) and Welbeck (three).

The Liverpool striker and Arsenal duo have each struggled for form and fitness at various points this campaign, providing Carroll with a window of opportunity to secure his place on the plane to France this summer. 

FBL-ENG-PR-WEST HAM-ARSENAL

Indeed, amongst the forwards picked by Hodgson, the above three are by and large cut from the same cloth, their pace and finishing two primary weapons in their arsenal.

With Leicester City's Vardy a similar player in that respect, England need a Plan B should all else fail going forward - and as demonstrated against Arsenal, Carroll's effectiveness from crosses could prove vital if the Three Lions are in desperate need of a goal.

The West Ham ace is far from a greenhorn when it comes to international tournaments having made nine appearances and scored against Sweden at Euro 2012, suggesting he has the necessary credentials to play an invaluable role in England's hopes of success this summer.

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