It is unlikely – all right, highly unlikely – that England's attack for the first two games of the European Championship in June will be led by Grant Holt and Peter Crouch. As supporters of Norwich and Stoke will attest, however, they could do far worse. As both continue to prove conclusively, it is not necessary to move like or indeed look much like an athlete to be a wonderfully effective footballer.
While Crouch's brilliant long-range volley against Manchester City will rightly attract attention, Holt's first goal against Wolves on Saturday demonstrated a deftness of touch that should make anyone who regards the Cumbrian as no more than a hard-working target man reconsider.
Sent clear on the edge of the penalty area barely a minute after Matt Jarvis had put Wolves ahead, Holt gently lobbed the ball over the advancing Wayne Hennessey – one of the taller goalkeepers around – ran around him and headed into the empty net. His second, a penalty thrashed straight into the middle of the goalmoments before half-time, may have lacked finesse, but it did the job.
The former Barrow and Shrewsbury forward has scored 12 league goals this season, having made 18 starts and 11 substitute appearances and, Wayne Rooney aside, is the top English goalscorer. Throw in assists, knockdowns, layoffs and headers won, in both penalty areas, and Holt is in danger of making Premier League salaries look justified.
In the circumstances, the Norwich manager, Paul Lambert, was never going to get too worked up about the unnecessary tackle which saw Holt pick up a late second yellow card and subject Carrow Road to a nervous few minutes before the final whistle left the Canaries bracketed with those other refreshing newcomers Swansea on a comforting 39 points, and Wolves four points adrift of safety.
"It's never easy when the goalkeeper comes out at you and you have to lift it over him but in the few years he's been here Grant has been huge for me," Lambert said. "He's got ability. His career has been up and down but the last three years has been an incredible high for him and he's getting the rewards for all that hard work, all the disappointments and knocks, everything that he's come through. As a Scot it's not for me to pick the England team, I have my own thoughts on that, all I can say is he's done brilliantly for me." As, he pointed out, have all his players.
Terry Connor was also full of praise for his players' collective effort. "Having scored that first goal, we should have been tighter for five or 10 minutes just to make sure that the goal did mean something and that we kept our noses in front," said the Wolves interim manager. "But I thought we worked very hard every second of the game and deserved something from it."
When a side are giving their all and it is still not good enough, it must be hard to see a way forward, but Connor – like his players – is doing his best. "We stay upbeat, we work with them, we prepare them and we show them the way that we can beat Bolton next weekend," he said.