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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 February 2006, 17:12 GMT
Who can replace Hartson?
Wales manager John Toshack
Hartson's retirement has left Toshack with few attacking options
John Hartson's shock decision to retire from international duty leaves Wales with an alarming dearth of striking options.

Wales manager John Toshack will begin the Euro 2008 qualifiers with just Craig Bellamy, Robert Earnshaw and Ryan Giggs as his experienced strikers.

Not a bad choice on paper, but Bellamy's career continues to be blighted by injury; Earnshaw is looking to kick-start his career again after flopping at West Brom; and Giggs has reached the twilight of his career.

So what other options does Toshack have? BBC Sport looks at the next generation of Welsh strikers.

Verona striker Craig Davies

In terms of physique, the 6ft 2in former Oxford man seems the most likely successor for Hartson's role as a target man.

The 20-year-old showed glimpses of promise when he won his first and so far only cap as a second-half substitute in September's World Cup qualifying defeat to Poland.

Davies made a surprise switch to Serie B side Verona last month after falling out of favour at League Two side Oxford.

Few British strikers have enjoyed success against the uncompromising Italian defenders; and with a record of two goals in 26 appearances for Oxford this season, it is difficult to see why exactly Verona have gone for Davies.

But Wales will need a physical presence up front against the likes of Germany and the Czech Republic, so Davies could be the man for the job.

Bristol City striker David Cotterill

Cotterill - or David Rhys George Best Cotterill to give him his distinguished full name - is another to have won his first cap under Toshack in last year's World Cup qualifying campaign.

And the fleet-footed 18-year-old certainly looked the part after replacing Giggs in the 2-0 victory against Azerbaijan in Cardiff.

Possibly the most naturally talented of the up and coming Welsh strikers, Cotterill's performances for Bristol City have caught the eye of some Premiership scouts this season.

But the Cardiff-born striker is still learning his trade, and lacks the strength to deal with international football.

Liverpool striker Ramon Calliste

Currently attempting to resurrect his career at Liverpool after being released by Manchester United at the end of last season, Calliste's pace and movement puts him in the Ian Rush mould of strikers.

The 20-year-old starred for the Wales Under-21s towards the end of their Uefa qualifying campaign, but is yet to find the net in 10 appearances for the side.

A player of undoubted raw ability, Calliste is destined to win his first call up to the senior squad this season; but like Cotterill, he is far from the finished product.

Mansfield striker Adam Birchall

Joined Arsenal at the age of 12, but was released by the Gunners at the end of last season after failing to break into the first-team squad.

Scored five goals for Wycombe Wanderers during a brief loan spell in 2004 but now plays for League Two side Mansfield, with three goals to his name.

The 21-year-old lacks the height and strength to lead the line and cannot compete with Bellamy and Earnshaw as natural goalscorers so is unlikely to force himself into Toshack's thinking.

Hartson decision saddens Saunders
07 Feb 06 |  Internationals
Hartson retires from Wales duties
06 Feb 06 |  Internationals


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