Holt good enough for international stage?

by Nathan Carr

There has been plenty of talk concerning Grant Holt and England recently – is the old fashioned centre forward good enough to make the step up?

Just three years ago, Grant Holt was plying his trade in the deeper oceans of English football with Shrewsbury Town. Now, he’s scoring for fun with Premier League outfit Norwich City. Quite a step up.

It all started for Holt in 1999, when he was playing for local team Workington Town. At this time, he was just 18 and had a part-time job at a factory. Skip forward four years and he was scoring 30+ goals for Barrow, which meant Holt was hot on various higher league sides.

Spells with Sheffield Wednesday, Rochdale, Nottingham Forest, Blackpool and of course Shrewsbury, which he left for the Canaries, followed and the rest is history. It’s quite an incredible story for the Carlisle-born frontman. And if that isn’t enough, he’s now being subjected to an England call-up ahead of the Euro Championships next summer.

But is the no-nonsense forward really good enough to compete against the likes of world class defenders such as Gerard Pique, Phillip Mexes and Bruno Alves?

Well, if you go by his goalscoring records – yes. Whilst he’s been at Norwich, the striker has scored a total of 67 goals in 120 appearances. And this season, Holt has netted 14 times in 28 games. These type of stats don’t come by luck. Likewise, switching from non-league to Premier League football is not decided by luck either – you have to earn it. And he has.

Holt is renowned for his bullish, old-fashioned, powerful front play that allows him to score so many goals. And couple these attributes with his surprising good feet and control, then one would say you have a rather polished individual. He’s 30-years-old, yet this doesn’t stop him from being a significant contender for Euro 2012 selection and for scoring more goals in the English top-flight.

The 6ft striker scored 21 league goals last term for Norwich, finishing top scorer in the division. And he’s followed his impressive Championship form up with 12 league goals in the Premier League this campaign. Enough for a call-up? Maybe. Enough to show he’s got the ability to compete with some of the very best central defenders in the world? Yes.

With Liverpool’s Andy Carroll currently out-of-form at Liverpool, Michael Owen past it, Jermaine Defoe clearly not likened by Pearce, Darren Bent injured and Bobby Zamora not exactly firing on all cylinders – Holt is a good a shout as anyone.

In my honest opinion, if Fraizer Campbell and Kevin Davies are good enough to wear the England jersey then Holt is certainly capable, too. England lack that consistent target man who can really dictate games and work well with the wingers. Carroll and Crouch haven’t been showing any signs of promise on the international stage for a while now.

Many will laugh if Holt is, to some people’s surprise, chosen. But with his past records and current form – he should be on the flight to Poland and Ukraine next summer.

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