Euro 2016: Andy Carroll Stakes Claim for Roy Hodgson's England Squad

Carroll for England?
Andy Carroll at Wembley Stadium, London, March 29, 2011. Carroll's aerial threat could be a useful tool for England in France. Julian Finney/Getty

It may have come late in the day, but Andy Carroll is staking a strong claim to be in Roy Hodgson's England squad for this summer's European Championships.

With six goals in his last five Premier League games, including a hat-trick in the Hammer's 3-3 draw with Arsenal, Carroll is forcing himself into contention to be on the plane to France in June. It's a nice headache to have, as managers say.

Imposingly powerful in the air, the 27-year-old, who has nine England caps and scored two goals, certainly adds a string to England's bow. The tricky part for Hodgson, however, is who, then, should be left out?

Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy, Danny Welbeck, Daniel Sturridge and Theo Walcott featured upfront in England's two friendlies in March, against Germany and Holland, while Wayne Rooney returned to action for Manchester United this week after a two-month injury layoff.

The knee injury to the United and England captain is not likely to see him jettisoned out of the squad, though, as Hodgson has already strongly defended Rooney. "Wayne, I repeat, is our captain," Hodgson told reporters after England's 3-2 victory over Germany in Berlin.

"He has captained the team extremely well these past two years and taken us through a qualification campaign where we had complete success, 10 wins out of 10, so it doesn't please me too much when it is suggested that the moment he gets injured and doesn't play he deserves to be jettisoned in some way."

An injury may be Carroll's only way into the squad, but the queue is already a lengthy one with just four strikers expected to make the cut.

Kane, Vardy and Rooney are likely to have their bags packed already, with Welbeck, a favourite of Hodgson, set to take the fourth spot.

That quartet has a combined total of 56 goals in the Premier League this season, with just five being headers, while Carroll has just as many himself. The former Liverpool striker may be a useful tool should England be in search of a late goal.

Although he may end up watching the tournament on television like the majority of the nation, the support for Carroll's inclusion will grow even stronger if his rich scoring form continues.