Can these players step up for England if Harry Kane is injured?
Jamie Vardy, Marcus Rashford, Danny Welbeck and, of course, Harry Kane. They comprised Gareth Southgate's strike force in Russia. Kane won the World Cup Golden Boot, scoring six goals in the Three Lions’ semifinal run.
Problem? He was the sole England striker in the competition to find the back of the net.
Question? What other options are available to Southgate to relieve the scoring pressure on Kane?
It's hardly a new problem for the England manager or his predecessors. So, what, if anything, changed? Who can the England manager rely upon now to provide goals in the Tottenham talisman's absence? Here are some answers to both questions.
In August, Jamie Vardy announced he was stepping back from international duty. The Leicester man was an ever-present in Southgate’s squads until the announcement. He scored seven goals in 26 appearances in an England shirt, all told. Most came from the bench. The 31-year-old scored against an impressive array of nations. The list includes Germany, Spain, Italy, and the Netherlands.
If worse comes to worst, Southgate may call upon the quick blue Fox who could so nimbly leap past offside traps to trouble goalkeepers, but he must exhaust all other avenues first.
Another name in contention for Russia was Charlie Austin. The former QPR striker's fallen off the radar when it comes to earning his first international cap. Southgate hasn't selected him. Austin's form could explain. He's failed to score in his last 12 league appearances for Southampton.
Young strikers Tammy Abraham and Dominic Solanke earned their maiden England caps in November 2017. Both find it tough sledding since.
Abraham suffered relegation to the Championship with loan club Swansea at the Premier League season's end. He's joined Aston Villa in the second tier, searching for game time away from parent club Chelsea.
Solanke made 21 league appearances for Liverpool last season, managing a solitary goal. An unused substitute in the EFL Cup, this season, he's only found playing time with the Reds' U23 squad.
Daniel Sturridge hasn’t been included in an England squad since August 2017. The 29-year-old was plagued with injuries but appears to be on the comeback trail. Following an unsuccessful season-ending loan at relegated West Bromwich Albion in which he made just six appearances, scoring no goals, he's made himself useful to Jurgen Klopp. The erstwhile Chelsea striker notched four goals in seven appearances to open this campaign, including a stunning equaliser against his former side last Saturday,
Sturridge remains an impact sub for his club. Starting won't matter. If he carries on this form while demonstrating his injury woes are in the past, he’ll do his England chances no harm at all.
Marcus Rashford scored England’s last two goals, in the 1-2 defeat to Spain and the 1-0 win over Switzerland in early September. The 20-year-old's been a regular pick for Southgate since scoring on his debut in May 2016. He played in all but one of the Three Lions' World Cup outings.
Unlike Sturridge, failing to start for Manchester United works against the youngster who came on late in three of four appearances, this term. His red card against Burnley did him no favours, either. Southgate expressed concern regarding playing time at clubs for younger stars, during the September break. Will he stay with Rashford if the player cannot break into Jose Mourinho's XI?
Like Rashford, Danny Welbeck went to Russia. Like Sturridge, he's an experienced impact sub who can make a difference despite limited minutes. Playing time may be an issue, though.
Under Unai Emery, Welbeck's buried behind Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre Emerick Aubameyang in the Gunners' pecking order. He's only played 54 Premier League minutes, this season, albeit with a goal to show for it. He's also played 90 minutes in the Europa League versus Ukrainian side Vorskla Poltava and another 90 in the EFL Cup against Brentford. Three more goals came in those matches. The 27-year-old's doing all he can to force his way deeper into his new manager's plans, but he's likely only to play in cup matches. Will that competitive level satisfy Gareth Southgate?
Watford boss Javi Gracia gives Troy Deeney all the minutes for which his captain could ask, all but sixty seconds in their seven matches to date.
Deeney's a throwback to the traditional English number nine. He's big, strong and eager to involve himself in the game's ugly side. The 30-year-old spent the majority of his career learning his trade in League One and the Championship, appearing 327 times in those divisions. It was time well spent. He's scored 30 goals in 111 Premier League appearances.
Deeney's old-school style is a step back from Southgate's contemporary methods. It never hurts to be able to flip the script on an opponent, however. The bruising Watford frontman's a good option if Southgate needs to do just that.
Unlike Deeney, Wilson can claim a history with the international set-up, albeit merely a single cap at the U21 level in 2014. The striker plays week in, week out for Eddie Howe's impressive Bournemouth side, featuring the full 90 in all but one Cherries Premier League game, this season. The former Coventry City man scored 21 goals in his 68 top-flight appearances, improving his tally every campaign. Limited international experience shouldn't count against the 26-year-old. If Southgate's looking to draft a new striker into his squad, Wilson's name should be near the top of the list.