Ian Rush Column: Strikers by the dozen

Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy, Tottenham’s Harry Kane and QPR’s Charlie Austin are at the top of their games, scoring aplenty for their clubs. But can they together lead the English line at the European Championships in France? The answer is an emphatic "no". They are excellent players, but they can’t work together. They are there to offer manager Roy Hodgson options A, B or C.

Jamie Vardy is a lad blessed with the right amount of confidence and Claudio Ranieri’s faith in his abilities has done wonders to his psyche.   -  REUTERS

Harry Kane's game has some similarities to Alan Shearer, but he is not quite as good in the air yet. Harry, though, is definitely as big and powerful as the former England great.   -  Getty Images

Jamie Vardy, the record-breaking goal-scorer from Leicester City, has been the highlight of the current Premier League season. He is a lad blessed with the right amount of confidence and Claudio Ranieri’s faith in his abilities has done wonders to his psyche. Jamie has been a consistent performer and has delivered regularly.

 

Social media has been abuzz with many comparing his style to mine. A few have even broached the topic during conversations. But I have never cared much about comparisons — everyone has his own individual style. Jamie plays off the shoulders of defenders, which enables him to get ahead of the back and to me that is very old school. Current defenders, not used to such playing styles, find it difficult to cope with him.

Jamie was brought up the hard way — he played in the Northern Premier League, the Conference and the Championship — and knows how difficult lives in those leagues are. Such grounding gives you the belief that no matter how old you are, if you believe in yourself and work hard enough and have enough determination, you can go on and achieve great things. Indian players should take a note here and never lose heart.

Last season, under the stewardship of Nigel Pearson, Leicester struggled except for the final 10 games of the season. But that turnaround in the last part of the campaign, gave the team the conviction that they can win against the best. Ranieri, the new manager, hasn’t tinkered with their style that much, and has only instilled further confidence and has created an atmosphere that breathes success.

 

Jamie, meanwhile, should carry on doing what he is doing, perform with the same confidence. He is never afraid to take a chance and that for me is imperative when it comes to a good striker — you have to take chances. More the chances you take on the field the probability of scoring also goes up. The important thing, for him, is to remain level-headed and be composed on and off the pitch. Jamie has the abilities to inspire others and people around him should do well to help him keep his focus firmly on the game.

He, however, has failed to replicate the same form for the English national side. Jamie’s best position is playing down the middle as he does for Leicester, but unfortunately, England manager Roy Hodgson is just looking to put him in an alternative role as Wayne Rooney is still a major part of his plans.

The English game, currently, is blessed with a growing number of impressive attacking players. Tottenham’s Harry Kane has done exceedingly well since last season and has the game to be truly word class with proper guidance. His strengths are similar to that of Jamie, he too can kick with both feet and is always willing to shoot from anywhere, always selfish for goals, a prerequisite for any striker. While, Jamie is quicker in the first 10 yards off the mark, Harry can always change the game and adapt to the situation in hand. I really enjoy watching both play.

Harry loves playing for Spurs and the supporters there are 100 percent behind him as he is also a local lad. His game has some similarities to Alan Shearer, but he is not quite as good in the air yet. Harry, though, is definitely as big and powerful as the former England great.

QPR’s Charlie Austin was again fantastic last season. I don’t know why he’s not playing in the Premiership. If he is to progress, he has to play in that League week in week out.

All the three strikers are great players, but in my opinion there is a lot more to come from Harry as he has the advantage of age.

Can Jamie, Harry and Charlie together lead the English line at the European Championships in France? The answer is an emphatic “no”. They are excellent players, but they can’t work together. They are there to offer Hodgson options A, B or C.

There is still room for Rooney in the English setup. He has been one of the best players in the Premiership for the last 10-15 years and he’s still got more to offer. Rooney has a major part to play in the EURO as he has the ability to play in any position according to the demands of the game.

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