Vardy, Kane give Hodgson reasons to be optimistic, but there are caveats
Vardy’s return of 18 goals from 24 matches is a fairytale in itself, for he was plying his trade in the lower leagues of English football not so long ago.football Updated: Feb 11, 2016 13:23 IST
The statistics would please Roy Hodgson, if he ever feels the need to check that. Jamie Vardy, the Englishman, who alongside Riyad Mahrez, is ensuring Leicester City’s dream is closer to reality than ever before is the only local striker to top the scoring charts in the four major leagues of Europe.
Vardy’s return of 18 goals from 24 matches is a fairytale in itself, for he was plying his trade in the lower leagues of English football not so long ago. But the juxtaposition with local strikers in other major leagues --- La Liga, Serie A and Bundesliga --- is like being treated with the best ice cream in town after a free gourmet dinner.
This, coupled with Harry Kane’s continuing success up front for Tottenham Hotspur, his return of 15 goals from 24 matches is only bettered by the aforementioned Leicester frontman, are reasons enough for any coach to be confident going into the Euro Championship, to be held in France from June. There is the case of Wayne Rooney regaining his form too, somewhat.
But before placing your bets on England, there are caveats to be aware of. Top strikers of England’s rival nations are not misfiring by any means, just that most are playing in leagues outside their home country.Uruguay’s Luis Suarez, leads the La Liga scoring charts with 21 goals from 22 matches, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic, whose national team, Sweden, will compete in Euro after missing out on the Brazil World Cup, is the top scorer in France’s Ligue 1 with 21 goals.
Poland’s Robert Lewandowksi, who many believe should have got more votes than he did at the Ballon d’Or, has scored 19 goals so far for Bayern Munich at the Bundesliga. France’s Karim Benzema, with 19 for Real Madrid, is not far behind either. Spaniard Borja Baston (15 for Eibar) and Belgian Romelu Lukaku (16 for Everton) are also not doing bad. Gareth Bale, whose Wales face England in the group stage on June 16, has 13.
Hodgson’s biggest concern, however, would be the column for assists. In the top 20 across all major leagues in Europe, there is not one Englishman. Germany’s Mesut Ozil (16), Italian Lorenzo Insigne (10), Belgian Kevin De Bruyne (9) and Spaniard David Silva (8), however, are in the top 10.