There have been a number of success stories in the Premier League so far this season: the partnership of Chelsea‘s Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa; Arsenal‘s Alexis Sanchez instantaneously adapting to the league and Southampton’s new signings exceeding all expectations.
However, the biggest triumph for most has been the abundance of newly-emerging English talent that has been dominating the headlines on a weekly basis. It was not so long ago that there seemed a lack of options for Roy Hodgson, but now he could find himself with an even greater problem when deciding on his Three Lions squad – who not to include?
Captain Wayne Rooney is of course a mainstay, and a fully fit Daniel Sturridge has the potential to be a world class striker. Danny Welbeck, meanwhile, is a versatile addition to the squad, yet there have been better performers this season.
Charlie Austin the 25-year-old, former Poole Town, striker has 12 goals in the league so far, behind only Manchester City‘s Sergio Aguero and Diego Costa. The Queens Park Rangers man has a further two 2 assists to his name; therefore contributing to 64% of his side’s league goals for the current season.
Austin is like a new kind of poacher. He is strong and physical, but really he depends on quality service into the box. Unfortunately, as Chris Waddle has alluded, that is not how international football really works. If Austin were to lead the line for England, would he able to hold the ball up on his own and bring others into play around him? After a slow start to the season Austin only really began to flourish upon Bobby Zamora’s introduction to the starting line-up. This allowed for longer balls into the box, and consequent knock downs, from which Austin could feed off.
The top flight’s next highest scoring Englishman is West Brom‘s Saido Berahino, who has 8 goals in the league and 13 in all competitions, following his quartet against Gateshead in the FA Cup. The 21-year-old has been the constant source of transfer speculation, with various stories linking him with a high profile move to either Liverpool or Tottenham.
While three of his league goals have come from the penalty spot, he is a player with undoubted finishing ability. In a team that creates more chances than West Brom he could do a great deal of damage. Nonetheless, for England, the same doubts arise for Berahino as they do for Austin. Yet, while there are concerns regarding his hold up play – he is not a typical number 9, in the same mould as Michael Owen, for example – he does help create almost one goal scoring opportunity a game.
If he does join a club like Liverpool or Spurs he will undoubtedly get more chances to be involved in the England set-up. That said, he has largely struggled since his last call up to Roy Hodgson’s side.
Perhaps the player with the most meteoric rise is the young Harry Kane or as Spurs fans refer to him, ‘The HurriKane’. The fascination with the 21-year-old has reached new heights after his man-of-the-match performance in the Lilywhite’s 5-3 win over Chelsea, during which he scored two goals and made two assists.
He has seven league goals so far this season, at 0.63 per 90 minutes, while he has also managed five in five in the Europa League, as well as three in three in the League Cup. It really has been a fantastic season so far for the Tottenham forward.
He can hold the ball up, has an aerial presence, is strong, quick, drives at players, is a fantastic finisher and has a very clever football brain which allows him to choose his passes like the one for Chadli’s goal against Chelsea. The question for England, though, is, do they have a system or a ‘Christian Eriksen‘ type player who is able to creates the space Kane requires to operate? And, will his pure hard work be enough to implement himself on the international stage?
The signs are very promising for Harry Kane, Tottenham and England, but it remains to be seen if this is just great form, or the beginning of something fantastic. Nonetheless, a Three Lions call-up is imminent.
Danny Ings is the fourth new front-man who has emerged Hodgson’s radar this season. Ings has already scored five Premier League goals for a Burnley side that has faced somewhat of a struggle in the final third. Clarets manager Sean Dyche requires a lot from all his players the 22-year-old is no exception; he works very hard for the team and creates numerous chances for his team mates.
However, he does have a poor shot accuracy compared to the other strikers mentioned and his lack of goals per minute in comparison to them also stands out. Ings is out of contract at the end of the season and, like Berahino, he finds himself as the subject of transfer speculation.
With such fierce competition for places at international level, he will probably have to move to a bigger club to earn full recognition. Having said this, he does appear to have the attributes required to excel at international level.
It is highly unlikely that Hodgson would drop Welbeck or Sturridge, when he’s fit, while Rooney is, of course, immune due to his role as captain. Based on Hodgson’s usual team selections, it is likely that there is one attacking squad place up for grabs.
At the moment it would seem that man of the hour Harry Kane would be the forerunner for the place, but if the other three can keep up their goal-scoring form and/or join a bigger club playing European football, they could well force themselves into the squad.
Three signings to help Burnley prepare for Europa League football
Burnley are in need of recruits following a 51-year absence from European competitions.
Burnley are set for a historic campaign in the 2018-19 season, as Sean Dyche’s side prepare to make their Europa League debut.
The Clarets excelled in the Premier League last term, finishing seventh behind English football’s big six, and tackle Abderdeen in a two-legged affair in the second qualifying round, before having to overcome two more stages if they are to qualify for the group stages.
That means Burnley have a stern task ahead of them in what could be a gruelling campaign this season and the Clarets need to secure further additions to help them prepare for Europa League football – and these three players are perfect.
Jack Grealish – Aston Villa
The 22-year-old Aston Villa ace has endured a turbulent few years despite his young age, forcing himself back into Steve Bruce’s squad after early criticisms of his behaviour and shaking a bad-boy reputation that threatened to limit his development.
Grealish is now a crucial player for defeated play-off finalists Villa, making 30 Championship appearances last season and scoring three goals, along with contributing a further six assists. In the wake of Aston Villa’s financial crisis, he could be offloaded to raise funds.
The Mirror claims Grealish’s value has been reduced down to £20 million, half Villa’s initial £40m valuation, and that is certainly an affordable price for Dyche’s side and would present the opportunity for profit in the coming years.
Josip Drmic – Borussia Monchengladbach
Capped 32 times by Switzerland and scoring ten goals, Drmic has a decent record at international level but has never quite managed to find his footing in club football, spending the past few years floating around Germany.
Bild state 25-year-old Switzerland international Josip Drmic could be allowed to leave for as little as €5 million this summer, presenting a bargain for Burnley, although Dyche may have to fend off some Premier League rivals for his services.
Entering the final year of his contract with Borussia Monchengladbach, Drmic would present a bargain for Burnley in the market and Dyche will hope he can rekindle the form that saw him net 17 goals for FC Nurnberg in the 2013/14 Bundesliga season.
Denis Cheryshev – Villarreal
There is always at least one player who catches the eye at the World Cup, seemingly from nowhere, and one of the surprise packages in Russia has come from the host nation’s ranks in the form of winger Denis Cheryshev – who scored four goals in Russia’s run to the quarter-finals.
Remarkably, that is the same number he secured across all competitions for Villarreal last season in 31 appearances – of which only 11 came as a starter. It could mean that the Yellow Submarines are open to a sale and Cheryshev would be a bold option for Burnley.
With the offer of potential Europa League football and more regular first-team appearances, Burnley could lure the 27-year-old to England and take advantage of his rising stock following sensational World Cup displays.
Burnley should pursue Aston Villa sensation Jack Grealish
Sean Dyche has signed quality from the Championship in the past.
Burnley boss Sean Dyche is one of the very best English managers currently plying their trade in the Premier League and it remains to be seen whether he will get a shot at one of the country’s biggest jobs.
Dyche has done an incredible job in establishing the Clarets as a Premier League outfit and their stunning campaign during 2017/18 saw the club rewarded with a place in the coming season’s Europa League.
The 47-year-old isn’t particularly interested in shopping for stellar recruits and with one of the top flight’s smallest budgets he has previously recruited especially well from the Championship.
Chris Wood, Jeff Hendrick, Charlie Taylor and Robbie Brady have all arrived at Turf Moor from second tier clubs in recent years and it is clear that Dyche is open to signing the league’s very best talent.
With Burnley about to embark on a European adventure the lure of joining the Lancashire-based club has now increased and Dyche might once again look towards the Championship to tempt Jack Grealish away from Aston Villa.
It seems unlikely that the 22-year-old will remain at Villa Park as the beaten Championship play-off finalists battle severe financial difficulties this summer, with several of their first-team set to be the subject of interest from elsewhere.
Grealish is one of the country’s hottest properties and although bigger clubs might be interested in acquiring his signature the chance to play regular first-team football in the Premier League, and in European competition, might act as a massive incentive for the player.
With the right manager overseeing his development Grealish could become of the of the best talents in the Premier League in future years and Dyche might be just the tonic for a player who has previously lost his way somewhat.
Jay Rodriguez reunion at Burnley would suit both parties
The 28-year-old is a Turf Moor academy graduate.
West Brom want to reduce their wage bill, and Sean Dyche’s Clarets are recruiting for their journey in Europe next season, so the deal on paper makes perfect sense.
The forward spent five-years with his hometown club, before a £6 million move to Southampton back in 2012. The 28-year-old was made available after West Brom were relegated from the Premier League earlier this month.
Rodriguez needs a fresh start after enduring one of the more troubling seasons of his career so far. Relegation was overshadowed and clouded by an allegation that he racially abused Brighton defender Gaetan Bong.
He was charged by the FA, but the allegation was not proven. Despite scoring seven times in 37 league games for the Baggies, Rodriguez will agree it’s been a season to forget, and his former club could be the team to save him.
The former Burnley striker was a fan favourite on Turf Moor before his move to Southampton six years ago, scoring 41 times in 128 appearances. He would give Dyche’s side more attacking depth which is an urgent requirement considering they have to juggle the Premier League with Europa League duties next season.
Meanwhilem Darren Moore is desperate to reshape his squad at West Brom and to do that he has to part ways with some of his more marketable players and Rodriguez fit’s into that category.
Burnley will surely be interested in the transfer considering the Englishman scored 11 goals in all competitions for a West Brom side that only managed 31 league goals in total.
The 28-year-old would also be moving closer to home, having been born in Burnley, and he remains one of the club’s most famous success stories from the academy.
The Claret’s should be bold and bring Rodriguez back to the team that discovered his talent. West Brom are desperate to offload their high earners, and the move would be perfect for all parties involved.