MX23RW : Sunday, January 20 01:19:06

Top five England strikers

As England struggle for striking options, Sports Mole looks back on five of the best that have represented the Three Lions.

While Frank Lampard has quite rightly dominated the headlines ahead of his 100th cap in Ukraine this evening, England's build-up to the clash in Kiev has been marred by a lack of striking options.

Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge and Andy Carroll are all injured, while Danny Welbeck is suspended.

It means that Jermain Defoe and Rickie Lambert are the only recognised centre-forwards available to Roy Hodgson for the must-not-lose World Cup qualifier, with the latter of the two expected to start.

England have not always had such problems when it comes to scoring goals, though. Below, Sports Mole has highlighted five of the best former strikers to have pulled on an England shirt.

1. Gary Lineker

No player has scored more goals for England in World Cups than Lineker. What is more, only seven players have found the net on more occasions in football's biggest international tournament than the now Match of the Day presenter. He scored important goals against the bigger nations as well, including the likes of Brazil, Argentina and West Germany. He retired with 48 goals from 80 outings, although he will feel that he should have equalled Sir Bobby Charlton's record of 49. In one of his last appearances for England, Lineker saw a penalty against Brazil at Wembley saved.

2. Michael Owen

He may have scored his first goal for England in a pre-World Cup friendly against Morocco in 1998, but Owen really announced himself on the international scene by scoring one of the most memorable goals in recent Three Lions history against Argentina in the second round. He found the net a total of 40 times, including a hat-trick during that famous night in Munich back in 2001.

3. Alan Shearer

Having scored 13 goals in 11 appearances for England's Under-21 side, Shearer's form could not be ignored much longer. Charged with the task of replacing the retiring Lineker, Shearer marked his debut against France in 1992 with a goal. The Geordie would then struggle for goals for a period, but that all changed during Euro 1996 when he struck on five occasions to fire the hosts to the semi-finals. He retired after the next European Championships with 30 goals from his 63 appearances.

4. Jimmy Greaves

Forty-four goals form 57 outings tells its own story. Greaves scored on his debut against Peru in 1959, and from that point on took to scoring for England like a duck to water. He scored a total of six hat-tricks for his country - a feat that no-one has been able to better. But for injury, which ruled him out of England's finest hour in 1966, he would perhaps be top of the standings ahead of Charlton.

5. Geoff Hurst

The story goes that Hurst would not have been a hat-trick hero in the 1966 World Cup final had Greaves not suffered an injury earlier in the tournament against France. The West Ham hero grasped his chance, so much so that despite Greaves's return to fitness for the final, Sir Alf Ramsey kept faith with Hurst and was ultimately rewarded. His international career only lasted seven years, but he still scored 24 goals.


Click here for more stories about Geoff Hurst

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Theo Walcott of England congratulates Rickie Lambert of England on scoring their second goal during the FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifying Group H match between England and Moldova at Wembley Stadium on September 6, 2013
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