World Cup Golden Boot winner with 130 Premier League goals, the PFA Young Player of the Year averaging a goal or assist every 103 minutes in the top flight and one of European football’s brightest young talents.
Is there a better front three in world football at the moment than Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling and Jadon Sancho?
“They’re as exciting as anything,” was manager Gareth Southgate’s assessment of England’s attacking options after beating Bulgaria last month.
Kane, Sterling and Sancho have scored or assisted 120 goals between them in the Premier League, Bundesliga and for England since the start of last season. Can anyone else in the world piece together a better three-man strikeforce?
Chart shows combined goals and assists in league games and internationals for three chosen players per country from the start of the 2018-19 season to Tuesday, 8togel October 2019 .
This is not an exact science, with team selections and formations making a direct comparison tricky. But we’ve picked a front three for each nation in the top 10 of the Fifa rankings and you can vote at the bottom for the best.
Southgate took England to the World Cup semi-finals last summer playing a back three with Kane and Sterling up front. But he has since changed to a front three, with Borussia Dortmund’s Sancho replacing Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford for the 5-3 win against Kosovo, their most recent game. Those three now appear to be the manager’s first-choice attack.
No other team in Europe can beat England’s haul of 19 goals in Euro 2020 qualifying going into this week’s internationals – they are level with Belgium and France.
Sterling has outscored Kane for club and country over the past 14 months – with eight goals for England in his last nine appearances. His 12 goal involvements (goals and assists) are the most since the start of last season for any player we looked at across the top 10 countries in the world.
Sancho scored twice against Kosovo – his first international goals – and is by far the most creative player available to Southgate. His 19 league assists are nearly double the next best – Sterling – while his 132 completed dribbles put him 37 clear of the Manchester City man.
Kane (26), Sterling (24) and Sancho (19) all have age on their side as well. At an average age of 23 years and 198 days they are the youngest trio – by around two years – of any of the strikeforces we looked at.
Belgium are the number-one ranked side in the world so it’s perhaps no surprise that their attacking options are rich and varied. Manchester City midfielder Kevin de Bruyne has played on the right of their front three at times – but he’s being discounted as he prefers to play deeper and does when everyone is fit.
Eden Hazard, Dries Mertens and Romelu Lukaku have started the most internationals since the start of last season so they get the nod for us.
Hazard has had his injury problems since leaving Chelsea last summer but he remains a world-class attacker – no other player we looked at has created more chances since the start of last season. Lukaku may have endured a poor final season at Manchester United – and he doesn’t create much for those around him – but he knows where the goal is.
He averages a goal every 58 minutes for Belgium over the past 14 months. No other player on our long list has scored more international goals in that period than his nine.
World Cup holders and ranked number two in the world – France may have the best strength in depth in world football at the moment. Somewhere in the offices of L’Equipe someone may have put Monaco striker Wissam Ben Yedder in their version of this piece ahead of Olivier Giroud et voila – France would be top of the shop when it comes to the stats.
But Giroud – despite barely playing for Chelsea in the Premier League – remains first choice for Les Bleus, starting 11 internationals since August 2018. In fact, of all the forwards we looked at only team-mate Antoine Griezmann and Brazil’s Roberto Firmino have started more in that time.
Paris St-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe shone at the World Cup and remains a phenomenal talent. Not even Lionel Messi can match his league record of a goal every 77 minutes.
Love him or loathe him, Neymar remains the main man for Brazil when fit. He missed a lot of games last season with a foot injury but still weighed in with nearly a goal per game for Paris St-Germain in the French league, and he won his 100th international cap against Senegal on Thursday. He has 61 goals for his country – only behind Ronaldo and Pele on the all-time list. Since the start of last season he has seven assists for Brazil – more than any other forward we analysed for these top 10 nations.
Who should play alongside Neymar? Liverpool’s own Roberto Firmino has started 15 times for Brazil in the past 14 months, with Gabriel Jesus of Manchester City and Richarlison of Everton sharing the third spot most often. Jesus gets the nod for us as he has scored eight goals in that time compared to Richarlison’s six. Hard lines.
He may be 34 but Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 93 goals for Portugal and shows no sign of slowing down.
Portugal have tended to play the two Silvas either side of Ronaldo – Manchester City’s Bernardo and AC Milan’s Andre – over the past 12 months. Andre Silva may have been packed off on loan to clubs in Spain and Germany but remains a key man for his country. He’s actually played more games for Portugal than Ronaldo since the start of last season.
Bernardo Silva is more of a midfielder but often plays wide right of a front three and has five assists in his past 10 caps.
Atletico Madrid paid £113m for teenager Joao Felix this summer and he started Portugal’s last match – but he has yet to score for his country in three appearances.
We are shoehorning a bit here – Uruguay played a pretty rigid 4-4-2 in the Copa America this summer with Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani a regimented pairing. Those two and former Middlesbrough man Cristhian Stuani are the go-to men but are all 32 years old – suggesting a bit of a rebuild is in order.
Old but gold – the trio remain lethal at league level. Cavani is Paris St-Germain’s all-time leading goalscorer and his shots on target to goals record is frankly ridiculous in Ligue 1. They go in the stands or in the net.
League record since start of 2018-19
Player Games Goals Assists Mins/goal Shots on target Chances created
Luis Suarez (Barcelona) 39 25 6 129.68 67 51
Edinson Cavani (PSG) 24 20 5 93.45 26 15
Cristhian Stuani (Girona) 32 19 0 143.74 39 14
Suarez remains a focal point for Barcelona and is the creative one of this trio. On top of the chances he lays on at the Nou Camp, the former Liverpool man has created more chances for Uruguay (13) than the other two combined.
Spain (7th in world rankings) – Rodrigo, Morata, Aspas
Spain’s attack is in a state of transition. Arsenal midfielder Dani Ceballos started in a front three last month against Romania while Suso, Mikel Oyarzabal and Isco have all played in attack in recent matches.
We’ve gone with goalscorers who have started at least five internationals in the last year – Atletico Madrid’s Alvaro Morata, Rodrigo of Valencia and Iago Aspas of Celta Vigo. Aspas and Rodrigo started both games against England in last year’s Nations League.