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Striker crisis?

Peter Fraser looks at England's attacking options with Danny Welbeck and Daniel Sturridge out.

Last Updated: 07/09/13 at 19:21

Roy Hodgson: England's manager could be without three of his strikers agains

Roy Hodgson: England's manager could be without three of his strikers agains

England may have secured a comfortable 4-0 win over Moldova at Wembley on Friday night but the victory also came at a cost for manager Roy Hodgson.

As the Three Lions continue their tense challenge to qualify for the 2014 World Cup, they will have to do so in Tuesday's hugely important match in Ukraine without forward Danny Welbeck.

The striker has been ruled out of next week's game due to suspension after collecting his second booking of the Group H qualification campaign in the defeat of Moldova.

Welbeck's absence is a latest setback to Hodgson's striking options with Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge also sidelined through injury and, here, we look at the issues facing the England boss.

Danny Welbeck

Hodgson was furious with the match officials against Moldova when Welbeck was booked in the first half to mean he will be suspended versus Ukraine. The Manchester United man, who scored twice versus Moldova from a position on the left of England's three-man attack, was adjudged to have kicked the ball away despite the supposed offence coming only a second or two after a whistle for offside. Welbeck's earlier booking in qualifying came in March's draw in Montenegro, when he was adjudged to have dived.

Rickie Lambert

Southampton's forward followed up his match-winning debut goal against Scotland with another header in the win over Moldova. Lambert also provided the two assists for Welbeck's goals. But the 31-year-old has only two caps to his name and his lack of experience at international level will be a worry for Hodgson ahead of such an significant fixture with Ukraine. However, his 70th minute substitution against Moldova suggests he will have a big part to play against Ukraine.

Daniel Sturridge

Liverpool's in-form forward missed Friday night's game against Moldova as a result of a thigh injury which meant he had returned to his club for rehabilitation. However, despite Hodgson being desperate for Sturridge to quickly overcome the problem - he was ruled out on Saturday. Sturridge has scored five goals in four games for Liverpool so far this season.

Wayne Rooney

The Manchester United striker was ruled out of the games against Moldova and Ukraine after he suffered a severe gash on his head following an accidental collision with club-mate Phil Jones in training. The injury meant Rooney, England's leading goalscorer in the World Cup qualifying campaign with five, had already missed United's defeat by Liverpool in the Premier League. Some critics had questioned Rooney's commitment to England and, in response, the 27-year-old posted a picture of his injury on his official Facebook page.

Jermain Defoe

The Tottenham Hotspur man represents a tried and tested option at international level after making more than 50 appearances for his country. Defoe has scored important goals for England in the past, including at World Cup finals. He also scored twice in the thrashing of San Marino in March. But Defoe has not started a Premier League game this season to suggest he might not be at his sharpest. However, if Hodgson did think about a tactical reshuffle and playing with a lone striker against Ukraine, Defoe could do the job.

Theo Walcott

Arsenal's Walcott has never made any secret of his desire to play as a central striker but for club and country his pace is favoured on the right of attacking areas. Walcott has also never really convinced when given the chance to operate through the middle. It remains to be seen if Hodgson decides to again play a 4-3-3 formation, as he did versus Moldova, when in Ukraine. Walcott may instead be relied upon to play a bit deeper if Hodgson was to switch to 4-2-3-1 and provide a bit more cover.

Ashley Young

The Manchester United winger was listed as one of England's forwards by the Football Association when their squad for the double-header against Moldova and Ukraine was announced and he could comfortably slot in as a direct replacement for Welbeck. Young's pace when England are looking to counter-attack against Ukraine could also be a weapon. But Young's form for United has been underwhelming at the start of the season and he has only played 107 minutes so far in the current campaign.

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W

e have the personnel. The trick is keeping them fit. Carrick and Blind have missed large chunks of the season, while the defence has been one muddled mess of intermittent stooges, all coming and going at various intervals thus far. We may be just short of title winning quality, but we're half way through. An injury crisis to either of the top two could change things. Optimistic, yes, but not unrealistic.

HarryBoulton
One Point And One Conclusion For United

P

arish is the man to blame for this shambles. Pulis must be chuckling into his left over turkey sandwich. I pray this doesn't mean the Neil Warnock media machine will kick in now and he'll be back on the telly box.

magicfuller
Warnock sacked by Palace

W

e almost found a new way to lose, just when I thought it was getting boring Giroud does that. Although Arsenal are deservedly called 'soft' the entire midfield is out injured. Still must admit MU are managing to win despite a similar raft of absentees. Think the Gunners have good players but poorly coached.

gettalong
Wenger: Giroud deserved red

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