Football

No lack of bite up front for Three Lions

Besides Sterling and Kane, Southgate can also pick Sancho, Rashford or Abraham

Halfway through qualifying for Euro 2020, England's place at next year's Finals already appears assured, thanks to a prolific forward line that has plundered 19 goals in just four qualifiers.

The Three Lions will be confident of maintaining their 100 per cent record in qualifying when they visit the Czech Republic tomorrow morning (Singapore time) and can even mathematically secure qualification by the time they travel to Bulgaria four days later.

EURO 2020 QUALIFIERS
GROUP A
CZECH REPUBLIC ENGLAND

At 26 and 24, Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling are the older heads of a thrilling forward line that threatens to be the envy of Europe next summer.

Kane and Sterling have each scored six times in four qualifiers.

But unlike many major tournaments that ended in disappointment over the past two decades, when England relied on one source of goals from the likes of Wayne Rooney and Michael Owen, Gareth Southgate has a wealth of options to choose from.

Jadon Sancho, 19, scored his first two international goals in the 5-3 victory over Kosovo last month and has edged ahead of Marcus Rashford as the prime candidate to join Sterling and Kane in a front three.

Rashford has struggled for fitness and form in a Manchester United side devoid of creativity, but is still just 21 and has plenty of time to make his case to start at the Euros.

Between them Kane, Sterling and Rashford have 19 goals in the first two months of the English Premier League season, but none of them are even the top-scoring Englishman in the EPL.

Tammy Abraham's electric start to life back at Chelsea after a series of loan spells has earned him an England recall with eight goals in as many league games.

However, he faces the thankless task of trying to usurp Kane to be England's No. 9.

"For me, he's the greatest striker in the world," Abraham, 22, told the Evening Standard.

"When you look at Harry Kane, if he gets a chance in the box, nine times out of 10, it's a goal. So I'll go there learn off him and hopefully be like him."

The competition just to make Southgate's squad next summer is just as fierce in other areas.

In midfield, another promising product of the Chelsea academy, Mason Mount, has overtaken his international teammate Ross Barkley at club level to break into the England senior squad.

James Maddison's wait for a first cap has been prolonged by an illness that forced him to withdraw from the squad yesterday.

However, his time will come as one of the stars of Leicester City's early rise to challengers for a Champions League place in the EPL this season. - AFP


WORLD CUP QUALIFIERS

ASIAN ZONE, SELECTED RESULTS

Group B - Australia 5 Nepal 0

Group C - Iran 14 Cambodia 0

Group D - Uzbekistan 5 Yemen 0

Group F - Japan 6 Mongolia 0

Group G - Vietnam 1 Malaysia 0

Group H - South Korea 8 Sri Lanka 0

Football