Daniel Sturridge is a better option for England at centre-forward than in-form duo Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy, according to Andy Cole.
Liverpool forward Sturridge, 26, appears to be behind the Tottenham and Leicester City men in Roy Hodgson’s attacking pecking order after they scored a combined 49 Premier League goals in 2015-16.
Sturridge, meanwhile, had another campaign interrupted by injury, starting only 11 league games, although he did net eight times in the top flight and scored a total of 13 goals in all competitions, including an impressive strike in the Europa League final defeat to Sevilla.
Former England striker Cole acknowledged the prolific campaigns produced by Kane and Vardy, but feels Sturridge offers the type of quality that cannot be matched by many players in world football.
“He’s England best centre forward when fit,” Cole said to Omnisport.
“I know Kane has had a very good season and Vardy has had an unbelievable season, especially after he got five goals last season and 24 this year – that’s phenomenal.
“But keep Sturridge fit and he is England’s best centre-forward. The goal he got in the Europa League final was majestic.
“The goals he has got for Liverpool this season when he’s fit – and also when he was at Chelsea and Man City – show that. There are not many centre-forwards who can do what he can do.”
Cole also gave strong backing to Manchester United and England captain Wayne Rooney, insisting he should be a starter despite receiving recent criticism over his performances.
Asked if Rooney deserves to be in the team, Cole said: “Of course he does. He might have had a dip in form last season, but Wayne Rooney has been Manchester United’s mainstay for numerous years and he has done that for England as well.
“He has played in several positions – left, right, up-front and in midfield – I think he deserves his place wherever England decide to play him.
“I would most probably play him in behind the strikers or in midfield. He has got the quality to play in those areas, but it is whatever Hodgson wants to do.”
Cole was speaking courtesy of New Era Global Sports.