Four months is a long time in football, even more so in international football when there are no games.
When England face Lithuania and Italy at the end of March, it will have been over four months since the November games against Slovenia and Scotland.
In the intervening period, several Premier League players have continued to state their cases to win first senior caps under Roy Hodgson.
Here, we look at four strikers who are all in with a chance of making Hodgson’s next squad.
It is only six years since the Queens Park Rangers striker was playing non-league football. Now he is the leading English scorer in the Premier League and the only one to reach double figures so far this season. He has scored 13 goals for a struggling QPR side, including a hat-trick against West Brom. His former Burnley manager Sean Dyche is a fan of both Austin and his former team-mate Ings as the duo vie for an England call-up. Austin is certainly still a raw prospect at the highest level, but he has a physicality for a striker which not many of his contemporaries can boast. He also has a cool head in front of goal and, like Rickie Lambert, is capable of making the transition from the lower levels to the international scene.
The West Brom striker was called up for the last squad, but didn’t feature against Slovenia or Scotland. He worked with Hodgson at West Brom and the England coach was happy to give the Under 21 international a senior chance. The top scorer in qualification for the summer’s European Under 21 Championship with 10 goals, Berahino’s goals for West Brom this season have tended to come in bursts. He has scored 14 in all competitions, but six of those came in a five-game spell and another six during three matches in January. His pace unsettles defenders and he is also a composed finisher when one-on-one with the keeper as his goal against Manchester United earlier this season showed.
The Burnley striker dropped onto Hodgson’s radar earlier this season and he continues to catch the eye after scoring in three consecutive Premier League appearances. Out of contract in the summer, Ings is set to see out the season with Burnley before likely having his pick of clubs, with Liverpool, Newcastle and Tottenham all rumoured to be interested. He is probably the least likely of this quartet to make the next England squad, but he has the necessary attributes to become a senior international in the future.
Arguably the best young player in England this season, Kane has scored 18 goals in all competitions for Spurs and has been linked with a move to Real Madrid as a result, while also being in line for a new contract. Hodgson has previously praised the 21-year-old, whose name and looks always remind me of a 1950s private investigator. He has scored eight goals in 10 appearances for the Under 21s and his performance against Chelsea on New Year’s Day, when he scored twice in a 5-3 win, demonstrated he is capable of doing it against the best defences. It would be a major surprise if he isn’t called up to the next squad.