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Man Utd and Real Madrid in for oddly-available World Cup winner

| 08.09.2014

Beleaguered England boss Roy Hodgson could take a lesson from Germany counterpart Joachim Low when trying to find a holding-midfielder, any holding-midfielder to fit the Three Lions’ anchorman role/hole.

World Cup final starter Christoph Kramer had not made his international debut before mid-May; for that matter, he is still yet to appear for Bayer Leverkusen, the club who own his registration, having returned to Borussia Monchengladbach on loan after the festivities in Brazil.

Despite being unloved in Leverkusen, Kramer is now Low’s de facto reserve central-midfielder and played every minute of Germany’s 2-1 win at home to Scotland, covering for injured pair Sami Khedira and Bastian Schweinsteiger.

The 23-year-old is also threatening to add goals to his football shtick, with an eighth senior strike in 123 league games in Kramer’s career to date bagged in the last minute on Bundesliga opening day, which secured a Gladbach draw at home to Stuttgart.

Kramer’s obvious availability sees both Manchester United and Real Madrid linked with the 6ft 3in Rhinelander, who bravely stayed on the Maracana pitch for almost a quarter of an hour after being badly concussed in a challenge with Argentina’s Ezequiel Garay, while Juventus are also thought to be interested

As for England, the most obvious comparison with Kramer is Chelsea’s Nathaniel Chalobah.

The Sierre Leone-born teenager is surely no more than 10 good Burnley performances away from a call-up to Hodgson’s posse, after impressing in spells at Middlesbrough, Nottingham Forest and Watford over the last few campaigns, not to mention in 19 England Under-21 appearances.

It looks likely that Aston Villa’s Fabian Delph will be first to stake a claim in the Three Lions’ gaping chasm, but the 24-year-old will need all his wits about him to neutralise Switzerland ace Xherdan Shaqiri in Basel, if the Bradfordian starts in place of rumoured injury worry Jordan Henderson.

England are 2/1 to win their opening Euro 2016 Group E clash, with the hosts 13/8 favourites and the draw 21/10.

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Alex Fortune