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Agbonlahor Can Wear Shearer's Crown

gabriel-agbonlahor.jpg

England have been missing a rampaging forward ever since Alan Shearer retired from national duty in 2000.  Gabriel Agbonlahor has the physique, the skill and the attitude to finally replace Shearer at the center of England’s attack.

A potted history of England’s strikers since 2000:

  • Michael Owen has continued to shine whenever he’s pulled on the England shirt, but his injuries have meant that it’s been impossible to depend on his presence.
  • Wayne Rooney continues to promise a lot but doesn’t deliver often enough for the Three Lions (1 goal in 3 games, on average).  He is also apt to vacate the central area even when playing as a lone striker.
  • Peter Crouch rarely disappoints when given a chance, but he finds himself under-utilized by manager after manager.
  • A handful of ultimately unsuccessful experiments with the likes of Darius Vassell and Jermaine Defoe.

Villa’s Agbonlahor has all the raw materials to pick up where Shearer left off.  Defenders hate physically dominating strikers and direct running, areas in which Agbonlahor excels.  He is proficient with both feet, scores an equal number of tap-ins and longer shots, and is also a great header of the ball.

A look at the strikers included in the current England squad has me scratching my head at his exclusion.

  • Rooney is there of course (and Owen isn’t, of course).
  • Jermaine Defoe – he of 5 goals in 28 England appearances – is likely to start.
  • Emile Heskey, who will be 32 by the time the next World Cup rolls around.  Without Owen, he is Yang with no Ying.
  • Theo Walcott, who has fewer Premiership goals than Defoe has international goals.

Agbonlahor’s versatility is possibly his undoing.  In John Carew, Villa have a classic center forward who would struggle to play anywhere else.  Ashley Young and Agbonlahor are asked to fill-in on the flanks.  Agbonlahor, particularly, looks like he would deliver more goals if he were allowed to play more centrally.

As it is, he has scored 23 times in 76 Premier League appearances since the start of the 06-07 season, a period in which he’s only missed one league game.  Yeah, I’m looking at you, Michael Owen.

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Kartik Krishnaiyer

    August 18, 2008 at 1:23 pm

    Ian, Sven is desperate. Mexico has too much talent and much like England Sven is pushing certain players buttons by his actions thinking it will elicit a reaction. Mexico has top 5 worldwide talent, much like England in my opinion has hands down the best talent in the world. But Sven, an outstanding club manager used to shuffling the deck and connecting with players through different means is over his head in the international game. That will be shown again real soon.

  2. United4life

    August 18, 2008 at 1:07 pm

    100% Agree with this article.

    Peter Crouch is a loser.

  3. Ian

    August 18, 2008 at 10:25 am

    england have the centre forward they need and his name is Peter Crouch. Sven was smart enough to understand this but Rafa and Capello with their erudite ways are blinded by this.

    sven is just a football manager while the others like capello always have an agenda. witness sven’s recent recall of blanco for mexico from the “depths” of mls and you’ll understand he watches more football and understands it better than anyone around. that’s why mexico is going to win alot under him and england are going to regret letting him go. so we cannot take pks? otherwise his record was unmatched since sir alf ramsey.

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