The Dreadest Shootout: Who Can Be England’s Saviour On Penalties?
If one man knows the importance of penalties in a major tournament it’s Gareth Southgate.
It almost seems inevitable that England will come across a penalty shootout in the World Cup. 1990, 1998 and 2006 all saw the Three Lions dispatched from the spot, so it’s no surprise every fan is terrified of extra time.
But do we need to be? The England squad has been completely revamped since the last shootout knockout and with England among the favourites to qualify from Group G we could well see one.
Southgate’s men would likely see Colombia or Poland in the Round of 16, and if all finishes square there, or in a Quarter Final, these are the men we should rely upon for World Cup penalties…
Naturally, England’s talisman will be a shoe in for a penalty and will be on spot kick duty throughout the tournament.
He’s missed just six of 27 penalties in his career, and his composure in front of goal will make him a shoe-in for first or last.
Jamie Vardy’s record from the penalty spot is almost an 80% conversion rate and if he’s not on the pitch at the start of extra time, he will be come the end of it.
He’s already bagged five this season, missing just one against Liverpool and as a Premier League winner he’ll have the temperament to deal with a pressure shootout.
The young lad Rashford isn’t on penalty duty for his club but he has delivered enough in big matches to be relied upon for a shootout.
His performance against Liverpool this season was simply phenomenal and he has never seemed fazed by anything in his career so far. We’d fancy Rashford to be itching to take one.
Eric Dier has scored a number of quality free kicks for both England and Spurs, so we know his placement and composure is there.
His cool head in the heart of midfield seems perfect to step up to the plate within the mid-section of a shootout. Step up, score, back to the middle, that’s how we’d see Dier’s contribution to penalties.
Ashley Young has earned himself a place in the squad for England’s recent friendlies and is an experienced head in that Manchester United squad.
Whether he makes the England World Cup squad is another matter but Jose Mourinho has trusted him across the season and he’s another who would get the job done with no fuss.
He of course missed a spot kick for England back at Euro 2012, which saw them knocked out by Portugal, but of course one left back has earned redemption by scoring a shootout penalty in recent memory. Ashley Young to do the same?
Raheem Sterling will be oozing confidence going into the summer after a fantastic season with Manchester City and it’s what you need to step up to the penalty spot.
His experiences in the latter stage of the Champions League will prepare him for the pressures and, you never know, he may even have to step up to take one against Liverpool in the Quarter Final or at a later point.
If he scores, he’d have to be a sure fire taker at Russia 2018.
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