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News today claimed that Aston Villa striker Darren Bent won’t feature again this season due to an ankle injury picked up over the weekend, making him doubtful to be fit for England in the Euros in June. It’s a huge blow to whoever eventually takes charge of England during the tournament, as they will also be missing key man Wayne Rooney for the first two group games due to suspension. These two forwards would almost certainly be first choices if they were fit and eligible, so now England have to find replacements and quick, with only a few months and a handful of games to prepare for the tournament proper. Sports UN takes a look at some of the players who might be hoping to make an impact and benefit from the absence of Rooney and Bent:
Danny Welbeck – Manchester United
Danny Welbeck has enjoyed a fine few years as a professional footballer. He made his breakthrough last season on loan at Sunderland, where for a time his form was so good he was keeping Darren Bent out of the team. 6 goals in 26 appearances at the Stadium of Light along with some eye-catching performances meant that Sir Alex Ferguson saw him as a key part of his Manchester United team for the upcoming season. So far he’s made 28 appearances for the Red Devils in all competitions, scoring 9 goals (including some vital ones) and has established himself as an important member of the squad. He made his England debut in March last year against Ghana but has yet to start for his country and his lack of match time at this level could be an issue. With Manchester United also out of the Champions League, Welbeck may not be able to gain the experience an England manager may feel is required to start the forward at the Euros.
Frazier Campbell - Sunderland
A surprise inclusion in Stuart Pearce’s squad for the upcoming friendly against Holland, he’s made an immediate impact for Sunderland after returning to the team following 18 months out of the game with knee ligament damage. Campbell is a promising talent and certainly knows where the back of the net is, but his lack of games leaves a huge question mark over his head for an England starting place. Pearce knows Campbell well after working with him at under-21 level but it remains to be seen if he can cut it at full international level and would be a huge gamble if chosen to start at the Euros.
Daniel Sturridge – Chelsea
This has been a huge season for Daniel Sturridge, who has made himself an integral part of the Chelsea team following a successful loan spell at Bolton last year. He’s currently top scorer at Chelsea this season, ahead of Didier Drogba and Fernando Torres, and along with Juan Mata has been one of this year’s success stories for the Stamford Bridge club. Sturridge’s skill is undeniable, he’s got lightning quick speed and quick feet to match, but his decision making can sometimes be called into question. The forward will often take a shot on goal rather than try to find his team mate in a better position, and this could be his downfall for England, as at international level decision making needs to be right more often than not.
Jermaine Defoe – Tottenham Hotspur
Jermaine Defoe has been on the outskirts of the England team for several years now but has yet to really make his mark. Despite making 46 appearances for the national team, scoring 15 goals along the way, he has never really held down a consistent starting place. He’s now struggling to get into the first 11 at his club, Tottenham Hotspur and although he has experience at international level, a lack of first team football may work against Defoe come the Euros.
Andy Carroll – Liverpool
Andy Carroll has been touted as a future England international ever since his form caught the public’s eye whilst playing for Newcastle. After a successful first few months in the Premier League at St. James Park, Liverpool came calling with a £35 million offer. Unfortunately this price-tag has weighed heavily on the striker, whose form at Anfield has not been a patch on that of the strong, exciting forward we saw at Newcastle. He’s scored 8 goals so far this season in all competitions and provides something different for an England team with an array of small, quick players but few who can hold the ball up front when a plan B is needed. Whilst his form may not be what is has been it’s possible that the incoming England manager could see Carroll as being a perfect foil for a smaller forward to play off at the Euros.
Peter Crouch – Stoke City
A shout from left field for Peter Crouch, who has not appeared for England since 2010 but again provides something different up front for England should they need it. He’s got a wealth of international experience and an amazing goal scoring record for his country, with 22 goals in 42 appearances and whilst admitting he doesn’t hold much hope of an England call-up may be a shock admission into the England squad for Euro 2012.