Giroud received plenty of criticism for his Arsenal season but still hit 24 goals.

Former Liverpool and England striker Robbie Fowler’s pick to win the Euro 2016 golden boot is perhaps a surprising choice, with the 41-year-old telling the Liverpool Echo that he is backing much-maligned Arsenal man Olivier Giroud for the prize.

Giroud was heavily criticised by both Gunners fans and neutrals for an inconsistent season at club level, not least because he went nearly four months from mid-January without scoring a single league goal.

However, despite the negative coverage, the 29-year-old actually enjoyed his most prolific personal campaign in his time in England last term, with his 24 goals from 54 appearances just a single strike short of his all-time best, the 25 he managed in his final season at Montpellier four years ago.

The striker has also impressed in the final warm-up matches for his country, scoring against Cameroon before netting a brace against Scotland, but he was booed by French supporters in the former fixture, something which was a source of puzzlement for the player himself.

Part of that hostility may be because the Arsenal man will be replacing the popular Karim Benzema as the spearhead of Les Bleus attack, but Fowler, who has experience playing for England at Euro 96 and the 2002 World Cup, is backing the much-maligned striker to silence his doubters this month.

Fowler told the Echo: “People will look at the likes of [Thomas] Muller and [Robert] Lewandowski, but people might find my choice a bit left-field.

“Looking at France’s group, I have to opt for one of their front three. [Anthony] Martial is a terrific player and [Antoine] Griezmann has had a fantastic season, but my shout for leading scorer is Olivier Giroud.

“He’s probably not everyone’s cup of tea but with five goals in six games going into the tournament, he will be confident.”

With the wealth of talent at the host nation’s disposal, Giroud is likely to get even better service for his country than he does at the Emirates Stadium.

He has developed a reputation for being profligate in front of goal, but if he can continue his season-ending form which included a hat-trick in Arsenal’s final-day clash with Aston Villa, he could well finish the tournament top of the pile.

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