New boy Watkins the latest to audition for part of Kane understudy

That is the best any English striker can hope for in what is one of the most thankless tasks in world football.

Yet, finding a player who can effectively fill Kane’s shoes and relieve the burden on the England captain should be among manager Gareth Southgate’s priorities ahead of this summer’s Euros.

Kane is irreplaceable for club and country. When his levels dip, invariably so do the fortunes of his team. Which is why finding an effective understudy is so vital to England’s hopes of winning a major tournament.

When Kane’s energy was sapped by the quarter and semi-final stages of the last World Cup, Southgate lost his primary goal threat and the Three Lions their cutting edge.

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After such an exhausting, condensed season, the same fault line remains heading straight into a summer tournament. But three years on from Russia, England are no closer to finding an understudy with Kane’s star appeal.

Rarely have England been so blessed with attacking talent. Just look at the names not included in the squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against San Marino, Albania and Poland: Tammy Abraham, Danny Ings, Mason Greenwood and Patrick Bamford.

Watkins joins Marcus Rashford and Dominic Calvert-Lewin as options to play centrally in place of Kane for the upcoming games.

The issue is finding a centre-forward who can play as both a No9 and 10; who has Kane’s link-up qualities and range of passing; and is also the most ruthless finisher you could hope to find. The sheer lack of strikers with that specific skillset is why Kane is so special. Any replacement is always going to be a compromise.

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