Jamie Vardy is keen to see whether he and Harry Kane can work together as a strike partnership for England.
Leicester City hero Vardy led the line for the Three Lions and opened the scoring in Tuesday’s 1-1 draw against Italy at Wembley.
Kane is currently rehabilitating from an ankle injury and is set to return to action for Tottenham next month as the World Cup in Russia draws closer.
Vardy has generally been seen as an understudy to the two-time Premier League Golden Boot winner but the fluid three-at-the-back formation employed by England boss Gareth Southgate during the international break has opened up the possibility of them playing together as a front two.
“I suppose. We’ll have to wait and see what the gaffer’s got planned,” Vardy said when pondering the prospect.
“It would be nice to actually try it out and see if it works but that’s down to the gaffer.
“It gives us other options when we go into games and, at the drop of a hat, we know exactly what we’re going to do with the formation.”
— England (@England) March 27, 2018
With an onus on England’s wing-backs to provide plenty of attacking width, Southgate’s current preferred shape lines up roughly as a 3-1-4-2 in attack.
Ahead of a holding player – Jordan Henderson in the 1-0 win over Netherlands in Amsterdam and Eric Dier against Italy – the midfield pairing of Jesse Lingard and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were granted freedom to attack across the final third. The benched Dele Alli was scarcely missed.
Vardy stretched the Italy defence in typically tireless fashion, while his forward partner Raheem Sterling was arguably England’s standout performer.
The Manchester City star’s livewire dribbling caused the visitors persistent problems and using a contrasting, linking forward alongside Kane or Vardy still seems a more likely ploy for Southgate than fielding both of his frontline strikers for England’s World Cup opener against Tunisia at the Volgograd Arena.
Lorenzo Insigne’s late penalty pegged back England after the video assistant referee asked referee Deniz Aytekin to perform an on-field review following debutant James Tarkowski’s challenge on Azzurri substitute Federico Chiesa.
Before that, Vardy and a team-mate on the same wavelength were moments away from leading the hosts to victory.
— Raheem Sterling (@sterling7) March 28, 2018
“Me and Raheem spoke before the game,” the 31-year-old added.
“He likes to drop in and get on the ball, so it gave me the opportunity to stretch their defence as far as possible to create little pockets of space for Raheem.
“It worked in our favour, we were on top but because of VAR at the end it wasn’t enough.”
England have only scored four times in their past six matches but, with a system showing signs of unlocking his forwards’ potential, Southgate’s attacking plan for Russia 2018 might just be falling into place.
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