“Grant Holt for England” seems quite an ambitious claim to many but given the run of form the Norwich City striker is currently on, increasing numbers are warming to the idea of the 30-year-old boarding the plane for Euro 2012.
In the post-highlights analysis of Norwich v Everton on this weekend’s Match of the Day, Mark Lawrenson categorically opposed the idea of Holt going to the Euros in the summer, but why? Holt is the second highest scoring English player in the Premier League this season after Wayne Rooney, having netted 13 times so far. This is more than the injured Darren Bent had amassed prior to rupturing his ankle ligaments and surpasses Andy Carroll’s entire Liverpool goal tally. Holt has shown he is able to adapt to the challenge of the Premier League and captain Norwich City to Premier League survival in a highly competitive season. Less than two years ago he was playing League One football and his total transfer fees amount to less than £1m.
Norwich have undoubtedly had much more value for money than Liverpool have had with their £35m striker in the form of Andy Carroll, but despite the stats being in his favour, Holt may not be the ideal replacement for Rooney in England’s opening two games.
Holt has no England caps to his name and it would be a huge demand for any striker to perform in the high pressure atmosphere of the European Championships, never mind a debutant. Holt also has no previous experience against defensive giants such as Spain’s Carles Puyol or Germany’s Philipp Lahm, who have over 150 international caps between them. With an England-Spain encounter in the quarterfinals a very likely possibility, it would be ideal for a striker with match experience in Europe to line up against the current world champions.
Arguably Danny Welbeck, who has had his own remarkable season with league leaders Manchester United, would be the striker of choice to replace Rooney in the first two games, and then to partner him in the following fixtures. Daniel Sturridge is also knocking on the door of England’s first team, after netting 10 times for Chelsea in the current campaign. With Fernando Torres still not hitting top form, Sturridge’s goals have been vital to Chelsea, who are in a fierce battle to secure Champions League football next season.
Undoubtedly, Holt deserves to go to Euro 2012, and he should. Yet it is still in doubt whether Holt could fill the boots of Rooney, or even partner him up front. However, Grant Holt could play a vital role in Euro 2012, being available should England sustain injuries or being the extra motivation on the subs’ bench and around the training ground. He’s definitely more of a contender than the likes of Andy Carroll and Bobby Zamora. I’d rather Emile Heskey travel to Poland and Ukraine in the summer instead of those two strikers.