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ENGLISH FORWARDS SET PACE IN GOLDEN BOOT RACE





There is an English element to the race to win this season's Premier League Golden Boot with six England internationals in the hunt to finish as top scorer.

Jamie Vardy currently leads the way with 17 goals, four clear of his nearest rivals: Southampton striker Danny Ings and Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford and Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham are also in the mix with 12 goals, while Liverpool's Sadio Mane joins Manchester City's Raheem Sterling and Tottenham's Harry Kane on 11.

Kane was the last Englishman to win the award at the end of the 2016/17 season, following up his 2015/16 win, but will there be a new Englishman on the award come May?

Who are the bookies backing?

Vardy's four-goal advantage sees him installed as an overwhelming favourite to win the award for the first time.

The Leicester striker, who is 10/11 with Sky Bet, is miles out in front of the next English challenger in the betting, Rashford at 10/1.

Meanwhile, Abraham is 11/1 to cap his breakthrough season in the top flight with the Golden Boot and Ings is 12/1 to spring a surprise.

Sterling is even further back at 14/1, while Kane is at 20/1.

Who are the other contenders?

Last year's joint-winner alongside Liverpool pair Salah and Mane is closely followed by Salah in the betting, who is 10/1 to win his third Golden Boot since moving to Anfield.

Mane is 12/1 to follow up last season's success, while Sergio Aguero is 14/1 to win his second Golden Boot following his 2014/15 win.

A new challenge for Kane?

Kane has been the first name on England manager Gareth Southgate's team sheet since his appointment in November 2016 and the Spurs striker has gone on to score 27 goals in 28 games under the current Three Lions boss.

Southgate named the 26-year-old as his captain before the 2018 World Cup and he went on to win the Golden Boot in Russia, becoming the second Englishman to end as the top scorer in a World Cup after Gary Lineker scored six goals in 1986.

He is also on course to break Wayne Rooney's record as England's all-time top scorer after notching 32 goals in 45 games for his country.

But is Kane, who now faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines after tearing his hamstring in Tottenham's 1-0 defeat at Southampton on New Year's Day, suddenly facing genuine competition for his England spot?

Ousting Southgate's captain will certainly take some doing.

However, the plethora of English forwards at the top of the scoring charts minus Vardy, who is retired from international football for now, gives Southgate plenty of options as he looks to put together his squad, and eventually, his starting line-up for Euro 2020.

More positives for Southgate

It's not just English strikers finding form this season.

Add Jadon Sancho, who has nine goals and 10 assists to his name in the Bundesliga, to Dele Alli, James Maddison, Jack Grealish and Todd Cantwell, who all have six goals in the Premier League this season, into the mix and England's attacking options are as strong as they have been for a very long time.

And that's a great position for Southgate to be in heading into a major tournament.

The English resurgence

There has been a resurgence in the number of English players being handed game time this season after almost hitting a decade low last campaign.

Burnley, Sheffield United, Southampton and Bournemouth have the greatest English representation, but the rising trend stems from increases at Manchester United and Chelsea, compared with minimal numbers at Arsenal and Manchester City.

In terms of goals from English players, Vardy leads the way with 17 from 1,710 minutes, but Ings has 13 from just 1,447 - which is arguably more impressive, having achieved that at a club fighting for survival.

You can tap on the markers below to see the number of goals and minutes clocked by every English player this season, highlighting emerging midfield talents James Maddison, Jack Grealish, Mason Mount and Todd Cantwell.

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