Vardy and Sturridge have to start now

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Sturridge nicks England winner

I think Roy Hodgson will start with Jamie Vardy and Daniel Sturridge up front against Slovakia on Monday – he has to.

This is not the end of Harry Kane’s tournament and he still has a big part to play at Euro 2016 but, after the impact Vardy and Sturridge made off the bench to help England beat Wales, I can’t see him starting our final game in Group B.

Roy will have to find a system to fit two players up top in Vardy and Sturridge, but they don’t both have to play as out-and-out strikers.

Sturridge gave us a bit of width at times against Wales, and he also dropped deep to get on the ball as well as trying to get into the area – like he did when he scored the winner.

He was basically given a free role to get up and support Vardy and also weave some magic. His winner was a brilliant finish and I would like to see more of the same from him against Slovakia.

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In 45 minutes, Sturridge touched the ball 33 times in the Wales half, including five touches inside the area. He played two key passes and had four shots, including the winner

England’s other substitute on Thursday, Marcus Rashford, was again very impressive when he came on for what was his competitive debut but starting with him as well might be too bold.

Roy had all three on the pitch on Thursday because he was chasing the game, but it would be very brave to start a match with three and a half centre-forwards in the side.

I say ‘half’ because you would class Wayne Rooney as a forward as well, even if he is operating a lot deeper.

Against Wales, Rooney was outstanding again with the way he grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck and was driving everyone forward. He and Kyle Walker at right-back have been our best players in France so far.

‘The most obvious thing we had on the bench was goals’

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Highlights: England 2-1 Wales

I said after the draw with Russia that Kane and Raheem Sterling deserved another chance but they had to improve against Wales or changes would be made during the game.

That is exactly how things panned out. Roy was right to stick by them and give them another opportunity but he acted at the right time when he took them off at the break.

It is the way it should be – he has taken five strikers to France and has plenty of options so, if one of them does not perform, then another one comes in for his chance.

Vardy and Sturridge would have been champing at the bit in training, and when they came on they both showed what they can do.

‘I feel sorry for Harry Kane but that’s the way it goes’

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In 45 minutes, Kane touched the ball 13 times in the Wales half but only one was inside the area – a header that was blocked. He had one other attempt at goal – a shot from outside the area – that was off target

It’s not all Kane’s fault that he has only touched the ball once in the opposition area in 135 minutes at Euro 2016.

He was there for a game and a half on his own, then Roy gambled and put on two centre-forwards so it was a little bit easier for Vardy and Sturridge from that point of view.

I feel sorry for Kane but that is the way it goes. There was pressure on me before Euro ’96 started because I had not scored for England for 12 games over 21 months and, if I had not scored in the opening game against Switzerland, I could not have complained if Terry Venables had dropped me.

If it is not working out, you have got to use the guys who are in form because the most obvious thing we have on the bench is goals, and Roy has done that.

It was a brave move by him because his neck was on the line at half-time, but it meant we got so many more bodies in the box in the second half.

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England players touched the ball 10 times in the Wales penalty area in the first half (left) but did so 23 times after the break (right). They also had many more touches in the final third in the second half

When that happens, things are going to fall to players – like they did with Vardy for England’s equaliser. It was not a fluke that he was there when the ball dropped for him two yards out.

We did not have that in the Russia game, or in the first half against Wales apart from the big chance Sterling had. It would have been a totally different game had that had gone in.

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Jamie Vardy scores for England

‘I want a complete performance against Slovakia’

The big positive is that we have won the game – but there are still plenty of things to work on.

We created one or two chances in the first half but it was still pretty poor from England’s point of view.

England should beat Slovakia and now finish top from the position we are in, but I want to see us play well for the entire game in Saint-Etienne.

Four points should be enough to get us out of Group B but I want us to take the first half from the Russia game and the second half against Wales and put that together for a complete performance – so we kick on going into the last 16.

Alan Shearer was speaking to BBC Sport’s Chris Bevan in France.

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