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Commentary

Let the two live wires Sturridge, Vardy start

I expect, and want, Daniel Sturridge and Jamie Vardy to start (against Slovakia) and, if they do so, they'll know Marcus Rashford, Harry Kane or Raheem Sterling can come off the bench.

Having people in reserve who can change the dynamic or pace of a game is a big thing and there's nothing like hungry strikers.

I remember Michael Owen in 1998. He didn't start the first game and was champing at the bit: "Get me on, get me on. I need to start."

Vardy, Sturridge and Rashford - whose story is most like the former Liverpool striker's - will have been like Owen: "Get me on asap. I need to be on that pitch."

I've played against Sturridge. He's elusive. He likes to move. He doesn't like to be pinned down to one area. He's a bit of a maverick who drifts about.

But what he is, when he gets the ball, is very direct. He wants to find the quickest way to goal and that's dangerous for defenders when someone of his ability has that in his head.

(Sturridge) wants to find the quickest way to goal and that's dangerous for defenders when someone of his ability has that in his head.

It's great when, as against Wales, you see what Sturridge is capable of.

His combination with Vardy could be lethal if England pick the right passes.

If they're happy to play the ball in behind for Vardy, it will push defenders back and Sturridge will drop into that space.

Then if England can identify the right times to play short passes to him, he can face up to defenders and run at them, as he did for his goal against Wales.

The beauty of Sturridge and Vardy together is they ask different questions. It's about variations.

THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 20, 2016, with the headline 'Let the two live wires Sturridge, Vardy start'. Print Edition | Subscribe