Watford captain Troy Deeney should be handed a call-up to the England squad, his manager Walter Mazzarri has claimed.
With Tottenham striker Harry Kane facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines after he sustained an ankle injury earlier this month, England manager Sam Allardyce will be on the lookout for a replacement ahead of the World Cup qualification double-header against Malta and Slovenia in October.
Deeney, who courted the interest of Premier League champions Leicester in the summer before agreeing a new five-year deal at Watford, has scored in his side’s successive victories against West Ham and Manchester United.
And while Mazzarri admitted he had not spoken to Allardyce about Deeney, he believes the 28-year-old striker deserves what would be a first cap for his country.
“I would be proud and really happy if Deeney went to the national team,” Mazzarri said. “He has improved physically and he is much fitter now.
“He is a strong striker, he just needs to look after his fitness, but of course he is international level.”
Italian Mazzarri, speaking through an interpreter ahead of his side’s Monday night clash at Burnley, added: “I respect the England manager and his decision, and I am biased as he is one of my players.
“The FA can call me with the help of an interpreter, but they haven’t called up until now.”
Deeney will line up for Watford at Turf Moor with the Hornets bidding for a hat-trick of consecutive wins.
But Mazzarri, whose Watford side moved into the top half of the Premier League following their impressive 3-1 victory against United, is not expecting an easy ride at Burnely.
“I have big respect for Burnley and they’re a strong team,” he added. “It’s a different type of game and not necessarily an easier game. We have big respect for Burnley and the way they play.
“They won against Liverpool and that shows they are strong. That’s what we need to reflect on and that they won against a big team like Liverpool. It’s a difficult away game and not an easy away match.”