England at Euro 2020: Who is going to lead the line for Gareth Southgate?

Danny Ings and Dominic Calvert Lewi cup their ears
Danny Ings and Dominic Calvert-Lewin could be in contention for Gareth Southgate's Euro 2020 squad

Danny Ings and/or Dominic Calvert-Lewin leading the line for England at Euro 2020 is becoming a less and less unlikely prospect by the day.

Who would have thought?

How did we arrive at this strange, unfamiliar place? Well, for a start, because they are having good seasons and arguably deserve a call-up based on their form. But also partly (no shade to Ings and Calvert-Lewin) through necessity.

Chelsea forward Tammy Abraham, 22, is the latest casualty - having to be helped off the pitch with an ankle injury during Tuesday's draw with Arsenal - and we don't yet know how long he'll be out for. Abraham has won four caps for England and scored once, but has hit 15 goals for Chelsea in all competitions this season.

Manchester United's Marcus Rashford is the same age as Abraham but more established in the national team - his 28 caps have brought 10 goals, not to mention the 19 he has scored for his club this season. He's out for an expected minimum of three months with a stress fracture.

And then there's Harry Kane - the captain. A total of 32 goals in 45 appearances for England puts him, at the age of 26, behind only Wayne Rooney, Sir Bobby Charlton, Gary Lineker, Jimmy Greaves and Michael Owen in the all-time scoring list. An integral part of the set-up, then. But he has a torn hamstring.

Again, it's not known when he'll be back, but there are fears he could miss the remainder of the season after surgery earlier this month.

No matter - what about Jamie Vardy? He retired from international football in 2018, but manager Gareth Southgate did say last November he was prepared to consider a recall. Surely this season's Premier League top scorer would help out by stepping in?

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Vardy 100% clear on England decision - Rodgers

Well, Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers says Vardy won't be making a U-turn.

Listen though, it's not all doom and gloom. Southampton's Ings, 27, is banging them in. He has 14 goals and one assist this season. And Everton's Calvert-Lewin, 22, has a respectable 10 goals to his name.

Both have been talked up by their managers. Asked after Southampton beat Crystal Palace on Tuesday whether Ings deserved an England call-up, Ralph Hasenhuttl agreed that, if one player from his squad deserved it, it was him.

Former England striker Ian Wright also said recently he believes Ings deserves a recall. On BBC Radio 5 Live's Monday Night Club, Wright spoke about the forward's resurgence after injury: "After what he has been through, he deserves it."

Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti has backed Calvert-Lewin for England, saying: "He has the quality and possibility to be a great striker in England - and for England."

And it's not as if Raheem Sterling and Jadon Sancho don't have a goal or two in them. Also: Mason Greenwood anyone?

Manchester City's Sterling is on 11 goals and one assist in the Premier League this year, while Borussia Dortmund's Sancho was the first player across Europe's top five leagues to reach 10 goals and 10 assists this season. And 18-year-old Greenwood has been called a star in the making after his flying start at Manchester United.

Feeling more optimistic?

Keeper questions...

How about the other end of the pitch?

Jordan Pickford has let in 35 goals in 24 appearances for Everton this season. He was questionable on Tuesday, too, as the Toffees threw away a 2-0 lead in injury time against Newcastle. He did catch Florian Lejeune's 95th-minute equaliser; he just happened to be standing behind the goalline.

Thomas Turgoose's biggest lookalike was England's penalty hero at Russia 2018 in the shootout with Colombia. But is the gig for him on current form?

And who could replace him? Dean Henderson - on loan from Manchester United with Sheffield United.

It may not actually be that wild a suggestion. He's let in just 20 goals in 23 Premier League appearances this season and his club manager, Chris Wilder, certainly backs him.

On BBC Radio 5 Live, Wilder said: "If there is a better goalkeeper in the world at the moment I have not seen one."

Crisis? What crisis? We're inundated with options here! It's coming home. It's definitely, perhaps, just maybe, permitting all the stars align exactly, don't @ us, coming... home.

Ings can only get better.

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