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Who England could turn to if Kane is injured at Euro 2024
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Cian Cheesbrough
Ollie Watkins was included in Gareth Southgate's England squad
Ollie Watkins was included in Gareth Southgate's England squad

Harry Kane's recent injury could throw one of his England deputies into the spotlight for their upcoming friendlies against Brazil and Belgium.

The Three Lions skipper, 30, is a potential doubt for the two Wembley clashes after limping off during Bayern Munich's 5-2 win over Darmstadt last Saturday.

His potential absence has sparked debate over what England will do at this summer's European Championship if their star striker is ruled out.

Ahead of facing the Selecao on Friday, we look at the options Gareth Southgate could turn to in Kane's absence.

Ollie Watkins

Ollie Watkins currently looks like the leading back-up striker for the upcoming games and Euro 2024 after a superb season for Aston Villa so far.

Though the pacey forward is a different proposition to Kane, he has proved his ability to find the net on a regular basis at club level.

The 26-year-old is behind only Erling Haaland for Premier League goals scored this season with 16, while he has managed 22 in all competitions.

He netted England's winner against Australia in October and the nine-cap international's 10 assists this term show he has stepped up his link-up play.

Ivan Toney

Ivan Toney is back in the England fold
Ivan Toney is back in the England fold

Perhaps possessing more similar attributes to Kane, Ivan Toney has regained his England place at the first time of asking following his nine-month ban.

The Brentford hotshot has scored four goals in his 10 appearances since returning in January and will be desperate to add to his solitary cap during the current international period.

His physical presence means Southgate would not have to alter his tactics as much with Toney in the side compared to Watkins, who tends to play on the shoulder more.

Given his relative inexperience at this level, a start in either of the two games could be a good chance to see how the former Peterborough ace handles international football.

Bellingham or Foden

Jude Bellingham has thrived as a false nine for Real Madrid
Jude Bellingham has thrived as a false nine for Real Madrid

Southgate has deployed a traditional No9 throughout his tenure but a few of his star players impressing as a false nine could force him into a rethink.

Jude Bellingham is the best example of this having made himself the darling of the Bernabeu since moving to Real Madrid.

The 20-year-old has netted 16 times from this slightly deeper position up front, which allows wingers Vinicius Jr and Rodrygo to burst forward and the former Birmingham ace to drive into space himself.

It is easy to see how England's wide forwards might also find joy in this system, with Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka and Jarrod Bowen all capable in front of goal.

Phil Foden is another who could slot into that false nine position having played there at times under Pep Guardiola during his best campaign in a Manchester City shirt to date.

Any other options?

Marcus Rashford and Jarrod Bowen can play a central role
Marcus Rashford and Jarrod Bowen can play a central role

Both Rashford and Bowen have played up front for their respective clubs this season and could provide Southgate with another card to play.

Rashford, 26, has blown hot and cold for Manchester United this term but has a decent international record with 17 goals in 59 appearances.

Bowen has been a revelation in a more central role for West Ham, netting 18 times this season.

Although there is no escaping the notion that none are as ideal as having the main man in the team, it is perhaps not the Kane or bust scenario England have arguably had at previous major tournaments.


EnglandEuropean ChampionshipHarry KaneReal MadridManchester UnitedManchester CityAston VillaWest Ham UnitedBrentford
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