Can Vardy, Kane & Rooney win us the Euros? We ran it through Football Manager
We turn to the management sim to crunch the numbers
If you're anything like us, you're praying that Roy Hodgson opts for a rampaging front three of Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy and Wayne Rooney.
Screw talk of midfield balance, defensive frailties and so-called 'tactics' - we want to see the Premier League rivals combine for a Keegan-esque attacking onslaught.
To see how such a plan would work out, we decided to ask the stat-crunching masterminds at Football Manager to run it through their algorithm. Here's how our boys got on...
"Hodgson plays a 4-4-2 Diamond formation with Rooney deployed as a shadow striker behind Kane and Vardy. There’s an emphasis on ball retention and domination of the tempo and balance of the play in midfield as well as instructions for Rooney to be team’s key playmaker."
GROUP STAGE: VS RUSSIA (1-1)
"In their first group game, Hodgson’s men come away with a 1-1 draw as Harry Kane’s 62nd minute goal cancels out Artem Dzyuba’s opener.
"Rooney, Vardy and Kane worked well together as they combined to create 16 shots in total and 12 key passes but the strikeforce lacked accuracy, putting just three shots on target over the course of the 90 minutes.
"The three of them average a 7.0/10.0 match rating but are overshadowed by Dele Alli who puts in a stellar performance in central midfield to be named Man of the Match."
GROUP STAGE: VS WALES (1-0)
"The trio show just what they’re capable of against Wales as England bag a crucial 1-0 win. Harry Kane is once again the sole name on England’s scoresheet but the fact the assist for the goal comes courtesy of Wayne Rooney illustrates just how effective this tactic could be.
"England fire 16 shots at the Welsh goal and put 8 on target in an improved attacking performance with the front trio responsible for 13 of them. Rooney is named Man of the Match with an 8.6 match rating."
GROUP STAGE: VS SLOVAKIA (3-0)
"England produce their best performance of the tournament so far in a 3-0 win that ensures they finish top of Group B. Harry Kane continues his rich vein of goalscoring form as he notches a brace before substitute Daniel Sturridge adds a third in injury time.
"England put five out of their 12 shots on target and dominate possession against Slovakia, who had already been eliminated from the competition. Rooney supplies 75 per cent of the team’s key passes while Vardy and Kane are responsible for three of the five shots on target. Kane is unsurprisingly named Man of the Match after his performance."
SECOND ROUND: VS POLAND (0-0)
"A lacklustre performance from England’s three attacking options results in a 0-0 stalemate through 120 minutes.
"Poland’s Karol Linetty, a second half sub, sees red during extra-time for a reckless lunge on James Milner. England then go on to do something that they haven’t done since 1996 – win a penalty shootout.
"All four of their spot-kick takers score (Vardy, Rooney, Milner, Stones) while only Lewandowski finds the net for the Poles. Wayne Rooney’s eight key passes from the attacking midfield spot are the only highlight in a poor showing from England’s attackers. Danny Rose is named Man of the Match."
QUARTER-FINAL: VS PORTUGAL (0-1)
"Another quarter-final against Portugal, another dose of heartbreak for England fans. Ronaldo and company edge a tight game 1-0 with the Real Madrid talisman scoring the crucial goal after 78 minutes.
"Another underwhelming display from Rooney, Kane and Vardy costs England dear as the waste four clear cut chances and Vardy fails to register a single shot on target.
"Alli, Dier and Milner are the only players to come out of the game in a positive light as they combine nicely in midfield to control the tempo of the play. Ronaldo is Man of the Match."