Ollie Watkins missed out on England’s World Cup squad but his form since surely has him in the reckoning for the next selection in June.
The Aston Villa forward scored his 10th and 11th goals in his last 12 appearances as his side beat Newcastle 3-0 in front of national coach Gareth Southgate on Saturday.
Here, the PA news agency looks at Watkins’ scoring run and how he compares to his England rivals.
Watkins’ current hot streak began on January 21, when he ended a run of four appearances without a goal by scoring Villa’s winner at Southampton.
His goals against Leicester, Manchester City and Arsenal proved in vain as Villa conceded 11 at the other end to lose all three games, but his penalty against Everton set up a 2-0 win.
Crystal Palace and Bournemouth are the only teams to stop him scoring in his last dozen games, though he scored against West Ham in between times and set up Jacob Ramsey against the Cherries.
He then opened the scoring in wins over Chelsea and the Foxes and grabbed a late clincher against Nottingham Forest, before sinking Villa’s fellow in-form side Newcastle with a brace and an impressive assist for Ramsey – he also hit a post and was denied another goal by a marginal offside call from the VAR.
Harry Kane is set in stone as England’s captain and main striker, but several players have rotated in the role as his primary back-up and Watkins has the strongest case on current form.
Since the World Cup, his scoring rate of 12 goals in 17 games (0.71 per game) outstrips even Kane himself – the latter’s 14 in 22, including his two England goals in European Championship qualifying, works out to 0.64 goals per game.
Marcus Rashford, whose own post-World Cup hot streak captured the attention before that of Watkins, has 20 in a massive 28 fixtures in that time – also a 0.71 average but edging out Watkins at the third decimal place.
That workload may have proved costly for Rashford, who missed England’s March camp as a precaution and has been ruled out for “a few games” by United after suffering a groin injury. Even if he is fit and available, his regular role on the left wing would leave space for both him and Watkins in Southgate’s squad.
Callum Wilson, who earned two substitute outings in Qatar, has scored only four times in 17 Newcastle appearances since and has lost his regular starting place to the club’s record signing Alexander Isak.
Ivan Toney made his England debut as a late substitute against Ukraine last month and has scored eight goals in 16 games since the World Cup. The Brentford striker is awaiting the outcome of an investigation into 262 alleged breaches of Football Association betting rules which could significantly affect his availability for club and country.
Watkins’ form even stands comparison to the top flight’s runaway leading scorer, Manchester City’s record-breaking Erling Haaland. He cannot quite measure up to the Norwegian’s 24 goals in 22 games since the World Cup break but Haaland too has 11 in his last 12 league matches.