Football: Cole is likely to partner Shearer
Having ended the Hungary match alongside Shearer, Heskey is technically the man in possession but, in the context of Saturday's vital European Championship qualifier against Sweden, he will have to continue his international education as a spectator.
Fowler is also unlikely to start, although he may be on the bench. Keegan spoke glowingly of him this week but the Liverpool striker is short of match fitness due to suspension and injury. Which leaves the Manchester United pair, Cole, who is ending the season poorly, and Sheringham, who is finishing on a high with crucial goals in FA and European Cup finals.
Cole, Keegan's former Newcastle protege, is likely to get the nod this morning. His finishing remains hit-or-miss but he linked well with Shearer against Poland, creating chances for each other and Paul Scholes. Merely being selected will raise his confidence and, maybe, restore his composure around goal. The pairing would also leave space for Scholes to play behind the strikers.
However, it will be a surprise if Sheringham is not involved, especially if things do not go England's way, and he may well start in Sofia against Bulgaria on Wednesday. It is not just form that is on his side, the figures back him up, too. He and Shearer are England's most successful partnership since Peter Beardsley and Lineker.
The Independent has analysed all England's matches since Shearer and Sheringham first teamed up, against the United States at Wembley on 7 September 1994. In the five years since, they have been partners on 24 occasions, totalling just under 25 hours of football. In that time England have scored 27 goals at a rate of one every 55 minutes, Shearer and Sheringham claiming 20 of them. In the matches and parts of matches they have not been in tandem England have scored 48 goals at a rate of one every 78 minutes, a staggering 30 per cent slower.
While Shearer has scored the bulk of the goals Sheringham's importance to the partnership cannot be underestimated. Shearer especially knows his value. With Sheringham alongside he has scored 13 goals at just under two hours football per goal. The nine goals scored without him have taken more than five hours each.
Sheringham's clever passing and his ability to take attention away from Shearer in the air are significant factors but it has been clear, watching Shearer with Owen, that he operates best with a partner who is prepared to do the donkey work and, unlike Owen, will leave the penalty area to Shearer.
Kevin Phillips did so to an extent in Hungary while Cole, with his growing awareness of other players, also looked a promising partner at times but, for the present, Sheringham is Shearer's best cohort.
With Shearer 28 years old, and Sheringham 33, the future may rest with Fowler (24) and Owen (19). Fowler, said Keegan, has been unlucky not to add to his three England starts. For Glenn Hoddle he started twice, scoring both times, but then went a year without playing until he came on as a late substitute in Hoddle's last match.
Much of this is due to injury and the fallout from Fowler's various brushes with authority but, said Keegan, "I can only judge on what I see and I like what I see. He has a tremendous amount to offer. He is as good a natural goalscorer as you are likely to see."
That is for the future. Sheringham said this week: "I feared I might be too old for the new manager", but Keegan, who paid pounds 1.4m for a 32-year- old Peter Beardsley at Newcastle, knows speed of thought can be more valuable than fleet of foot. The question is not whether to play Sheringham, but when.
Keown's approval, page 25
Geoffrey Macnab does not like the comedian's big screen debut
Look beyond the usual shows for the best festive telly
The battle for control of Stieg Larsson's £30m legacy
Latest in Sport
Tim Sherwood challenges Daniel Levy to set out vision for Tottenham Hotspur’s future
The worst owner in football? Vincent Tan faces fan backlash as Malky Mackay clings to Cardiff job
Bonuses for goals and top four finish as Luiz Suarez joins Premier League's top three earners
Luis Suarez: Liverpool striker ends exit speculation by signing 'long-term' contract
Transfer news: Tottenham Hotspur - January transfer targets
- 1 Tim Sherwood challenges Daniel Levy to set out vision for Tottenham Hotspur’s future
- 2 French pub fined €9,000 after customers returned empties to bar - because it's 'undeclared labour'
- 3 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 4 #Teamnigella: It’s the only side to be on
- 5 Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber is 'retiring from music'
Exclusive: Young people ‘want UK to stay in Europe’: Four in 10 adults aged 18 to 24 are ‘firmly in favour’ of membership, poll shows
Tom Daley ‘is gay because his father died’ says UK evangelist
Iain Duncan Smith leaves Commons food banks debate early
Kiss and yell: Italian protester charged with sexual assault after kissing riot police officer
PM denies two child limit for benefits is part of Tory welfare policy
David Cameron takes his biggest gamble yet as he gets tough on Europe over immigration
£59999 - £80001 per annum + Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: A Top 10 firm in ...
£50000 - £75000 per annum + benefits + bonus: Harrington Starr: Project Manage...
Negotiable: Capita Education Resourcing Permanent Team: Year 5 Teacher - Gilli...
£60000 - £90000 per annum + benefits + bonus: Harrington Starr: Business Analy...