Kane and Vardy with golden chance to shine for Rooney-less England

Much has been spoken about the Three Lions skipper's future role as his understudies in the striking department look to step up and stake their claims against Turkey


The last time Jamie Vardy was at the Etihad Stadium, scarves commemorating his battle with Sergio Aguero were sold outside. "Aguero versus Vardy: I was there," they said.

The individual battle did not live up to much as Vardy was kept under control but his Leicester City team-mates ran riot, taking a huge leap towards winning the Premier League title - and ending Manchester City's hopes in the process.

He will be back on Sunday for the international friendly against Turkey hoping he can make his mark in a bid to nail down a starting berth in Roy Hodgson's England squad for Euro 2016.

The hitman could line up alongside Harry Kane, who did find the target last time he ran out at the Etihad. His penalty in Spurs' 2-1 victory gave Mauricio Pochettino's men hope that they could go all the way in the title race, and dealt yet another blow to City's faltering chances.

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The two Englishmen scored 49 league goals between them and, on the evidence of their joint England cameo against Germany in March, look capable of hitting it off together.

Vardy was only afforded the final 19 minutes against Joachim Low's world champions in Berlin but scored an impudent equaliser just moments after replacing Danny Welbeck. The Arsenal man, of course, will not make the finals in France following his injury - also at the Etihad, as (bad) luck would have it - which potentially leaves a spot for Vardy to clinch.

Welbeck would have operated off the left in Hodgson's attack but the manager may now be tempted to go for an old-fashioned two up top. And if he does so, he's got a duo the envy of many European nations. 

Kane had already scored a classy goal of his own by the time Vardy had entered the fray against Germany, further proof that he is indeed the real deal. A sparkling debut campaign in English football piqued the interest but still there was caution that he may be a one-season wonder. Not a chance. He has shown in the current campaign that he is destined to get better and better, and he looks right at home in an England shirt, too.

Vardy himself has had a breakthrough season, and even if he cannot repeat his heroics next time around, there's every chance he can carry his devastating form into the Euros.

With Wayne Rooney, the main barrier to a starting spot for either man, and young pretender Marcus Rashford in action for Manchester United in Saturday's FA Cup final, Kane and Vardy have a golden opportunity to stake their claim less than three weeks before England kick off their campaign against Russia.

Turkey, Sunday's opponents, will play an attractive brand of football in France but, for the first time in a generation, England can be expected to do the same. The giddiness of that wonderful victory against Germany was tempered by a tepid defeat to the Netherlands, but with a team based around Spurs' firebrands Dele Alli, Eric Dier and particularly Kane, Hodgson is in charge of the most thrilling squad of his reign.

Two-man strike partnerships are not the done thing in modern football but England have never managed to get the better of their international rivals by doing the done thing, so why not give them both barrels?

Rooney has had a disappointing season and has not lived up to his billing on the tournament stage since his debut 12 years ago. He may even be dropped back into a deeper role, as he has done for United in recent weeks. But either way, both Kane and Vardy have the bit between their teeth.

They will head into the Turkey game in full knowledge that this is a perfect opportunity to show what they can do, both individually and as a partnership. Rooney, Rashford, and Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge will have the following two matches to stake their own claims, but they may have too much to prove by then.

This is Kane and Vardy's big chance. They should sell scarves to mark the occasion.