By 90Min
March 08, 2018

As the final international break looms on the horizon before this summer's World Cup in Russia, England boss Gareth Southgate is casting an eye over those who are rapping at the Three Lions boss' door, but also those who cling to the dressing room wall like a metaphorical wallflower waiting in the unlikely event of a call to arms.

As the likes of messrs Kane, Alli et al have all but had their passports stamped for the trip east in a few months' time, in recent weeks a number of unlikely names have entered the fray.

With reports in The Mirror suggesting England U19 left winger Ryan Sessegnon could be set for a shock place in England's provisional squad this summer, The Telegraph also state that Burnley defender James Tarkowski could also be in the frame for his first cap to face the Netherlands and Italy later this month.

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Amidst speculation of some of England's younger prospects, however, lurks Brighton & Hove Albion striker Glenn Murray - arguably the most deserving of both the former names being thrown in the ring, despite his senior years.

Having reached double figures this term with 11 Premier League goals, 34-year-old Murray is the English top-flight's third highest home-grown scorer - behind only Kane and Raheem Sterling. 

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Whilst Murray may not get near a starting XI berth even now, his mere statistics this season are worthy of attention. In 36 appearances since the start of last season, the Brighton man has been involved in 29 goals in as many starts, netting 26 times. 

Murray has this season gone on to hit the sort of form a centre-forward can dream of in the Premier League - regardless of nationality or credence - and at the AMEX Stadium has scored in his last five home league outings.

There are some that will say that does not convert into even one England cap, but Southgate could do worse than having the option of Murray to throw on in the final twenty minutes of a game, for a man who knows not only how to find the space but to convert also.

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The rather large elephant in the room exists with regard to Murray's now senior years in the game, but there are more than few examples that have gone in the face of such a perceived notion.

For England, Leslie Compton made his first appearance at the ripe old age of 38 as his side beat Wales in 1950, and Finnish legend Jari Litmanen scored a penalty against San Marino just a year shy of turning 40. But more recently, there's the case of Argentinian forward Martin Palermo.

At 36 years of age, the Boca Juniors striker earned a recall to Diego Maradona's 2010 World Cup squad in South Africa after a sterling campaign in his homeland, no less than eleven years after it was thought his international days were over. 


Despite holding the rather unwanted title of the only player in football history to miss three separate penalties for La Albiceleste against Colombia in an international match in 1999, Palermo not only came on in the second half against Greece, but then scored in the 89th-minute for Argentina after a Lionel Messi-rebounded effort.

That goal for Palermo as his country's eldest statesman to score a World Cup goal - ironically usurping his then manager Maradona. Like Murray also, the veteran had a history of serious injury during his career.

So there is enough there for Murray to get what would be a deserved fifteen minutes of fame, perhaps even literally this summer in the motherland.

If indeed England and Southgate are struggling for an 'X' factor in front of goal against either the likes of Tunisia or - god forbid - Panama in late June, the Three Lions could do far worse than Glenn Murray as 'plan B'.

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