England can do it with an adrenaline shot up front, and Evan Toni could be the answer to a team whose strikers are struggling.
If watching England’s men’s team feels like you’re watching a TV series, the last series ended on a cliff. Four Nations League matches ended in two draws and two losses, culminating in a climax 4-0 defeat at the hands of Hungary. Doubts were raised about Gareth Southgate, with the faint sound of a worm spinning.
A team that took the shootout from becoming European champions felt like a long time ago when England rolled off the pitch against Hungary, but even that match feels like a long time ago now, and perhaps in a way it is. . The next time England take to the field for a match, they will have different lyrics for the national anthem. The women’s team is the European champion.
England are going into the international break in need of a shot in the arm, and one of the biggest problems is where their goals will come from behind Harry Kane. Kane is in as good shape as ever, with five goals from his first six games of the Premier League season, but after that it gets more and more mysterious.
Of the seven attacking players in the Nations League fixture lineup, only Kane has scored more than one goal in every other game this season so far in the Premier League, and if scoring is a game of confidence, they risk becoming over-reliant on that player to achieve their goals. . Because few other England players are scoring much at the moment.
Raheem Sterling scored three out of six goals for Chelsea and Tammy Abraham two of the six goals for Roma. Bukayo Saka, Jack Grealish, Phil Foden and Jarrod Bowen scored only two goals between them. But not all attacking players are attackers, and Sterling, Saka, Grealish and Foden all fall into this category.
But Bowen has failed to score in his first six games of the season, with West Ham United running near the bottom of the Premier League and Abraham barely tearing things up in Italy. So where might the threat of the other target come from? Well, Marcus Rashford is an obvious proposition, considering he appears to have regained some of the joy of life on the pitch for Manchester United under Eric Ten Hag, and he might get a chance at the upcoming international break.
Rashford and Sterling are two of only four English players to have scored at least three goals in the Premier League this season, and among the other two, Harry Kane is already on his way to the Middle East save for a few catastrophic injuries – and it’s not hard to imagine them. Trying to get him off the field with his full body even if that happens – he is the England player with the highest number of goals in the Premier League after six games, while the other is still a neglected player at international level.
It’s hard to see the continuing rationale for leaving Evan Toni out of the England squad. Not only has Tony matched Harry Kane’s five goals in his first six Premier League games this season, but he did so at a club that was at risk of developing Season 2 Syndrome, and with a sense of style that suggests his confidence can’t. be much higher.
He started his season slowly – he wasn’t among the top scorers in Brentford’s 4-0 win over Manchester United in August – but he’s been gathering strength, culminating in a hat-trick against Leeds United in his last game before. International rest period. This is not a prejudice of modernity; Toni scored 12 goals in the Premier League last season, and over the past two promotion seasons for Brentford, he scored 59 goals in all competitions.
He has proven and proven that he is capable, and after turning down a call-up request from Jamaica in March 2021 because he wanted to play for England, he clearly thinks he is. Above all, Brentford coach Thomas Frank described Tony as “Best penalty kick in the world”And if England don’t need more of those heading into the World Cup finals, when will they be?
Of course, that’s not the only headache Gareth Southgate is having at the moment. Nations League matches showed shortcomings on both ends of the pitch. Does something close to animal cruelty amount to Harry Maguire’s pick when his descent to a meme continues apace? Can Trent Alexander-Arnold regain some poise away from everything that is happening to Liverpool? At least all of his three guards since the start of the summer – Jordan Pickford, Nick Pope and Aaron Ramsdale – have all been in great shape so far this season.
It remains to be seen if England’s poor performance in the summer Nations League matches was nothing more than a reaction to the end of a very testing season, a series of matches that no one seemed eager to play. It’s fair to say that the past two or three seasons have been extraordinarily punishing for players, and with the Champions League final stretching into June and Nations League matches starting soon after, it’s not hard to see how the players may have made it past the game. The point of exhaustion at the time when these combinations appeared. It’s also worth bearing in mind that England’s previous level throughout 2021/202 – seven wins and two draws – was good enough.
But the possibility that England will be over-reliant on their captain for goals is real, but a ready-made striker in perfect condition has certainly done enough to earn his call-up, and the matches against Italy and Germany will be tough. the exams. The new series of English TV series has a potential new star.