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Hodgson plays the numbers game

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Phil McNulty | 17:33 UK time, Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Roy Hodgson has released the numbers behind England's Euro 2012 plans - and now has one more game to negotiate before slotting the final pieces into place.

Liverpool striker Andy Carroll may take some encouragement from his sudden increasing importance to the England manager's strategy for Poland and Ukraine by being handed the number nine shirt when the Football Association handed in its final squad on Tuesday.

In Wayne Rooney's absence through suspension, Carroll looks certain to start alongside Manchester United's Ashley Young in attack when England open their campaign against France in Donetsk on 11 June after their promising link-up in Saturday's 1-0 win in Norway.

Hodgson's defence is also taking shape with the Chelsea-centric back four of Ashley Cole, John Terry and Gary Cahill augmented by Liverpool's Glen Johnson if he is fit.

Scott Parker and Steven Gerrard

Scott Parker (left) and Steven Gerrard (right) led the midfield against Norway. Photo: Getty   

This leaves Hodgson with the midfield conundrum and the personnel he will fit into what was a very rigid 4-4-2 formation in Oslo and which looks to be the template for England’s way forward under the 64-year-old.

It is a system that had his predecessor Fabio Capello condemned as tactically prehistoric in the game’s modernising era but England showed early signs of a willingness to embrace the tactical discipline Hodgson demands from his team.

Steven Gerrard, reinstated as captain under Hodgson, and Scott Parker took the central midfield places in Oslo – leaving them in pole position to face France, to the exclusion of Chelsea’s Champions League winner Frank Lampard.

Lampard is unlikely to listen to such talk of defeat surrounding his place and he will attempt to make a strong impression on Hodgson if he gets the chance against Belgium at Wembley on Saturday.

Finding a way of combining Lampard and Gerrard has become an age-old dilemma for England managers stretching as far back as Sven-Goran Eriksson and only time will tell if Hodgson feels he can find the solution.

And the tactical and professional maturity displayed by Lampard in extremis as Chelsea came under siege from first Barcelona then Bayern Munich in the Champions League demonstrated once more that he is not ready to go quietly.

Hodgson appears locked in to a 4-4-2 shape, which means the 4-2-3-1 formation which could allow him to play Parker, Gerrard and Lampard is not at the forefront of his thoughts.

It would be stretching the reality to suggest England’s midfield worked like a well-oiled machine in Oslo, far from it, but Hodgson clearly saw enough to confirm his view that this will be his Euro 2012 route in Poland and Ukraine.

There was a lack of fluidity which led to Gerrard being unable to resist hitting high-risk long passes that often attract criticism – but in his defence he was trying to bring an air of the unexpected to England’s plan, albeit with mixed results.

Gareth Barry’s absence through injury robs Hodgson of an experienced player who would have been desperate to make amends for a disappointing World Cup campaign in South Africa in 2010 – when he carried an injury through the tournament.

Of more significance is the long-standing and damaging absence of Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere, who could have provided Hodgson with the complete midfielder, a combination of industry and creative spark that would flourish at international level.

The decision to call up Everton’s Phil Jagielka ahead of Liverpool midfield man Jordan Henderson once Barry was ruled out, allows Hodgson to balance his squad with eight midfielders and eight defenders – with the option of pushing Manchester United youngster Phil Jones or Manchester City’s James Milner into the centre, as well as having Lampard at his disposal.

Milner, trusted by a succession of England managers, was used on the right flank in Oslo with Liverpool’s Stewart Downing used on the left but neither shone.

England’s use of possession, especially in the second half, was poor and is unlikely to go unpunished by better sides than Norway and the rigidity of the three lines was exposed as Milner and Downing were often pushed too deep by the opposing full-backs to be of full service to Hodgson.

When Rooney returns he will bring the natural instincts of someone who does not stick to these lines but is happy to work between them, which only emphasises his importance as England's main creator and someone Hodgson will rely on heavily.

Downing, as for much of the season at Liverpool, was disappointing and must show swift improvement to cement a place against France and then stand a chance of retaining it once Rooney is available.

Indeed, such was Downing’s lack of impact there may be the temptation to use the versatile Milner on the left and trust Theo Walcott on the right against France, while Young is likely to be restored to the flanks once Rooney is available against Ukraine.

These are questions Hodgson will be focusing his attention on. To give them context, the Norway game came after only three days of work with his new players - not enough time to put theories into perfect practice.

By the time France stand in opposition, Hodgson's famed drills and repetitions will hopefully have had the desired effect.

Comments

Page 1 of 8

  • Comment number 1.

    4-4-2 has been "condemned as tactically prehistoric" for 20 years, but has been used to win countless trophies in between, including the Treble and the World Cup.

    the criticism of England's tactics was borne purely from ignorance of what was actually wrong with the squad.

  • Comment number 2.

    As for the nonsense about how things are unlikely to go unpunished blah blah blah deal in facts for god's sake: how many mistakes are ever punished by the top teams? A very very small percentage is the truth and the reason for that is that attacking players make more mistakes than defenders ever do.

  • Comment number 3.

    Oh and the opposing full-backs pushing our wide midfielders back does not highlight the rigidity of the three lines or whatever mediaspeak you used to drift into the new black stock line of playing between the lines yawn yawn... it was a natural fall back to being off the pace the longer the first warm-up practice match under the new manager went ... you lot make it sound as if Rooney dropping off is going to be a new concept or something, when the truth is not a single opposition manager or player will be even vaguely surprised by it, not least because teams like the one Rooney plays club football for have been doing it for 20 years and more by now...

  • Comment number 4.

    my 11 hart, richards, jagielka, cahill, baines, parker, gerrard, oxlade-chamberlain, walcott, young, carroll in 4-2-3-1.

    pace on both wings and through the middle, young, ox and walcott inter-changing positions and picking up the knock downs and through balls from carroll.

    why should lampard, terry, cole etc should have garunteed places in the starting 11?

  • Comment number 5.

    We all talk about premier league teams needing time to gel. Why is it any different with the national squad. We shouldnt expect the players to walk on to a pitch and be amazing. We need combinations of players who know how each other plays.

    Especially upfront when reading the intentions of your own team mates is key. That is why England look so poor and flat in the final third. No imagination, they cant anticipate runs from their teammates.

    SOLUTION:

    Play Welbeck as the lone striker, Rooney just behind and Young on the left wing. Those three played most games together for United all season meaning that the gelling has already been done. They know each others game and can take their premier league form to the Euros.

    Same with Defence. I would like to see TERRY, CAHILL and COLE as three of the defenders. They know each other, know their strengths and weaknesses. They will have worked on combination play all season. What to do when one steps up, who drops back. How to orchestrate the defensive line. Keeping it flat, playing the offside trap. People always talk about Central defensive partnerships. Why not choose one ready made rather then having to create one in three days which is impossible.

    Of course you would have to go with HART in goal as he is clearly the best keeper we have. As for right back, Roy has caused himself a slight problem. How Glen Johnson is in there before Richards is crazy. As a United fan i would even have to say that Jones is not a right back. He is very young and doesn't always start for United and when he does Ferdinand is there to mentor him. There is no room for error in international football and i would have to say that he is a liability. Therefore Johnson has to play as the only recognised right back in the squad.

    For the Midfield partnership, one of those players has to be GERRARD. He was poor against Norway but as the captain he has to play. There is no way around it. I think PARKER is the next best choice, he knows how to play the midfield role so well. You need someone who you can rely on to track back and make up the extra man when the defence is over run. He must play.

    Then there is the right wing position. On the flank you want to be stretching the opposition back line. Puling defenders out of position and creating space in field. Milner doesn't do that. He is a good player but not an attacking winger. He will work hard and his skill set is more suited to a central midfield role but can be deployed on the right if we need to be more defensive stability. I would love to see OXLADE-C. He is fresh young fast and has flair. Something that this England squad is devoid of.

    This this makes for a decent team. There are small partnerships around the pitch. People who know each others game. What runs they are going to make and where. This is the team i would like to see start.

    .................Hart

    Johnson..Terry..Cahill..Cole

    ......Gerrard..Parker

    OxladeC..Rooney..Young

    ............Welbeck


    This is so obvious i cant believe it hasn't been tried. You look at Man City. In the final third they played countless one-twos. Players were making runs in behind the defence. They carried a threat. Last night in Norway, do you think their defence would have been overly worried by those defence splitting runs from andy carroll? No. He isnt mobile, technically gifted or fast. No exactly intelligent either. He must not start in france.

    That team i have suggested is not based on individuals but groups of players who know how to play together and in the final third that gives the team fluidity and flair, something that was missing last night.

    Do you agree? What possible argument is there for not having that starting line up?

  • Comment number 6.

    Pragmatic choice of tactics and squad from Roy.

    Surprised by The Bawlers first 3 comments.. Only 2 of them had United references...

  • Comment number 7.

    The numbers are irrelevant and so are these so-called formations. The formation is really decided by the type of players you have. You pick your players to fit how you want to (if possible) play not vice versa. Hodgson is no radical.

  • Comment number 8.

    6 yet you managed a 100% ratio - go figure. Would you like me to change your name to something hilarious as well? I'll ask my 5 year old for some suggestions.

  • Comment number 9.

    7 correct. the formation should always be fluid and changeable depending on the situation.

  • Comment number 10.

    Not very far into this piece, Phil McNulty proves something sad about his writing. Not wanting to repeat 'Hodgson' (it's about him, for goodness sake!) he puts "...England’s way forward under the 64-year-old." It is so typical of the gutter-press journalist, and others influenced by that awful crew, to assume that a person's age is a much-to-be-highlighted fact about them. Agism!

  • Comment number 11.

    Re 5: What possible argument is there for not having that starting line up?

    Howabout Rooney being suspended?

  • Comment number 12.

    @5: GibsonisGreat

    That is exactly the team I would play given the squad that we are taking to the Euros. Problem arises for the first two games when Rooney isn't available. Does Lampard step in? Or formation change?

  • Comment number 13.

    I would have liked to see Redknapp as manager since he'd suit the transition english football is making from thuggery to finesse. The real problem with England is it means too little to these players to wear the shirt- He might have played a 442 with Hart, Richards, Cahill, Lescott, Cole, Lennon, Parker, AOC, Young, Carrol/Rooney, Crouch. Would have been a nice mix of finesse and 'brawn' given the players we have. Don't be surprised to see a massive lack of passion from the team with Roy as manager this tournament anyway.

  • Comment number 14.

    Think you already hit the nail firmly on the head. 4-4-2 is the only way forward in my eyes with the players available. Terry and Cahill started to look together at Chelsea. Johnson and Cole are experienced fullbacks willing to go forward. Carroll has world class potential and his form is good. With such a short time to prepare and the players available a solid defence and a player capable of leading the line it's a no brainier. Simples

  • Comment number 15.

    @5

    Agree with you completely. Look at Germany and Spain - there teams are pretty much made up of 1 or 2 teams and they have done well recently in these tournaments.
    Would have taken Richards (definately the best England right back) and Lennon, for a bit of pace and a link up with Parker
    then played:
    Hart
    Richards, Terry, Cahill, Cole
    Parker, Gerrard
    Lennon, Rooney, Young
    Welbeck

    As for when Rooney's suspended, I think we should play Carroll because Welbeck is not a game winner on his own, with Gerrard just behind him and Lamps coming in at CM

  • Comment number 16.

    Downing gets panned and 'must show swift improvement' as opposed to magnificent right side that delivered NOTHING all game from 3 players.

    He lacks a trick, which we know the modern fan and media = skill... but is one of the few players that can cross a ball with his left foot ( what do professional footballers do season after season, that means they can't develop this skill? )

    Young has many qualities, but supplying Carroll with crosses from the left is not one of them, his choice is to cut in on his right, too often.

    Downing whilst not a trick pony.. will work up and down the left and will be decent.

    At Liverpool I doubt Downings assist totals were not down to him not finding his target...

    He's far from the least effective player in an England shirt.

  • Comment number 17.

    @4 . Cole is arguable the best left back in the world, miles ahead of Baines. Jagielka is lazy and occasionally has very poor positioning. Cahill, Terry and Cole have great chemistry, something that the England team has lacked for years. Walker would be the first place right back and should have been Richards in his absence, Johnson is far past it and has been selected for his experience rather than talent.

  • Comment number 18.

    @ #4 ed allan

    I take it your an Arsenal fan as I find it funny you only mention lamprd, terry and cole. Some sour graped from Chelsea being the first London team to lift the Chamions League me thinks.

    The reason that Terry desrves to go is becuase, despite the controversy, he is still the best centre back England have got, forget your club ties for a minute and listen to the experts. Terry has consistently performed, counting out the Liverpool away this season, for the whole season.

    Cole once again has been the best left back in the world as shown through his chamions league prowess this season.

    And Lampard, well he has shown that he is the most dynamic and flexible centre midfielder England have, shown through his Chelsea performances this season. He can hold, play box to box, and play attacking. Scotty P can only hold, Gerrard can't play deep. I'm not bad mouthing them as they should be two starters at the Euros along with lampard. It should be Lampard and Parker holding and Gerrard playing in the whole with two wingers or Parker holding on his own and Lampard and Gerrard attacking this should be used against the weaker opposition.

    Lampard has had the problem of can lamprd and gerrard play together heaped on him and that has been unfair, actually the stats show that Gerrard is the problem as Lampard's stats are significantly better. I actually think they can play together but why it has taken somebody so long to play 3 centre midfielders so they can both attack and use their strengths. It should of been Hargreaves when he was fit, then Barry when he was good internationally, and now Parker.

    Hart
    Johnson Cahill Terry Cole
    Lampard Parker
    Walcott Gerrard Young
    Carroll

    Hart
    Johnson Cahill Terry Cole
    Parker
    Lampard Gerrard
    Walcott Carroll Young

    This will allow all of Englands best players to be playing in their best position utiising their strengths.

  • Comment number 19.

    'Do you agree? What possible argument is there for not having that starting line up?'

    Rooney's ban for the opening 2 games perhaps?

  • Comment number 20.

    Why is everyone so against Chelsea players, especially lampard...do remember that these 'old' players somehow just won the champions league, which is an European competition, and i'd rather have him over jagielka in midfield anyday. Also gary cahill has played amazingly this season, better than terry and lescott, would be very surprised if he didn't start.

  • Comment number 21.

    @5 -> Love the 11 you've put together, not that we'll ever play such an attacking formation under Roy (not that I'm complaining, I think solid defensive positioning will bring us the most success in this tournament (not in the future.))

    The only change I'd make is to put Jagielka and Lescott in at the back. Jag said it himself in the press conference, this partnership has been played 3 times for England, with 3 wins, including the victory against Spain. They might not be in the same team at the moment in the PL, but their partnership is there, and it has proven very solid. It would be a shame to leave Cahill out, but like you said, you want a ready-made partnership.

  • Comment number 22.

    Gerrard and Lampard are both top quality players and each has intelligence. If they are told that what is required of them is to adopt the method demonstrated by Gerrard and Scott Parker in Oslo it is not beyond them to study and imitate the model.

  • Comment number 23.

    Hart
    Johnson, Cahill, Terry, Cole
    Walcott, Parker, Gerrard, Young
    Welbeck, Carroll

    I think Welbeck is smart enough, creative enough and possesses the passing ability to play the number 10 role and tracks back exceptionally well. This means we can move Young to the left and actually have a dangerous, creative player there.

  • Comment number 24.

    Another year, another tournament and another blog about how England will do - Downing - a waste of space at Liverpool this year is in, Carol - another who literally can not hit the side of a barn with a beach ball, Rooney who will start to play only when it is all over - should he even be in the team? lets hope it rains so Young does not hurt himself when he dives in, Johnson / Welbeck - injured - why are they even going other than to provide an excuse when you don't get out of the group stage.

    Players picked on reputation or because they play at a big club - there are players in the so called smaller clubs with smaller names who would put in a bigger effort in order to play for their country and earn the respect of their fellow countryman than this bunch of overpaid pampered fools who let you think they actually want to be there and not on a yacht in sunnier climes somewhere

    Such a waste of an opportunity to blood decent players in time for a world cup in 2 years by which time half this team will be gone and good riddance

  • Comment number 25.

    "When Rooney returns he will bring the natural instincts of someone who does not stick to these lines but is happy to work between them, which only emphasises his importance as England's main creator and someone Hodgson will rely on heavily."

    But Ashley Young could just as well have done that, in fact he's the one that many have been touting for exactly that role. One can only assume that he didn't do it because the manager told him not to! The same must therefore apply to Rooney - stay up front alongside Carroll/Welbeck, otherwise you'll be too far apart and won't be able to play off each other.

    Sounds great, but still leaves us with no connection between midfield and attack other than a long hoof up the pitch.

  • Comment number 26.

    all very well and good, the article lures you in about squad numbers, mentions big Andy Carroll's number 9 then goes off about 4-4-2s being prehistoric. Would of been nice if there was a full squad number list is all im saying. Hodgson can have this tournament as a warm-up looking at things for the big one in Brazil. Out with the old in with the new im saying so no pressure on em this year for once from me!

  • Comment number 27.

    am disappointed i really wanted to see the 4-2-3-1 formation, think it could have worked well and released stevie g! doesnt bode well..

  • Comment number 28.

    #5 great formation - and replace rooney with gerrard for first 2 games, putting lampard in at centre mid. Got to make use of oxlade-c as he and young Are our only pacey creative players. Walcott will only ever be a back up and Milner is a different type of player. A straight 4-4-2 just won't cut it - we need a linking number 10 of either Rooney or (only other option) gerrard

  • Comment number 29.

    Gosh, it's only a game people, only a game. I have a few €s left from a recent trip abroad that says England will have 'left' the Euro's before Rooney kicks a ball, so there. Before you take the bet, please remember that the € can go down as well as down and by the time the bet ever became payable the € might not exist any more! France and Sweden will both beat us.

  • Comment number 30.

    If the squad numbers are indicative of who he intends to use as his first team then we are in trouble. Carroll really is not good enough - Welbeck has had a far superior campaign and looks like an all-round better player.

    Phil why do you insist on bigging up Gerrard so much? You said yourself in the article that Lampard has just won the Champions League, and I thought he played well in that success. So as we all know you can't play both, Gerrard really should miss out here. But it is a shame about Wilshere.

    When you label Milner as "versatile", in translation this actually means he is average in a few different positions. Putting him on the left of midfield is tantamount to tactical suicide. I would recommend playing Young on the left and having Welbeck and Carroll (then Rooney) up front.

    I watched the Panorama on the racism in Poland-Ukraine last night and was disgusted. Is there not blog on here where this can be discussed? I find it unbelievable that such countries were awarded the tournament in the first place.

  • Comment number 31.

    We have no good strikers, 2 good attacking midfielders who benifit from having someone behind them for insurance, 1 winger in form (Young) and the choice of either Downing or Walcott on the other. 4-4-2 does not make the best use of our players, especially with the lack of attacking options.

    England are not a team who can blitz teams like Spain or Holland, we are not that good. Sadly our best bet is to put presure behind the ball and break from there, which we have the players to do resonably well.

  • Comment number 32.

    Does it really matter when a QF is the best England can hope for?

  • Comment number 33.

    Everyone including Roy are forgetting Aaron Lennon. Better than Walcott in every aspect. With wingers and Carroll playing the first 2 games, you NEED someone who can cross the ball. Young can do that...and Gerrard but in a holding role?

    Hart, Richards, Terry, Cahill, Cole, Lennon, Gerrard, Parker, Young, Welbeck, Rooney

    That's my squad without suspensions of course!

  • Comment number 34.

    Phil Jagielka: "Yeah we're being humble and that on the surface because our squads horrific and everyone can see it, but secretly we still think its written in the stars that we're going to win it." ....ing groooaaaannnn

  • Comment number 35.

    England to play the dynamic 6-2-2 formation:

    Hart
    Johnson, Jagielka, Terry, Cahill, Lescott, Cole
    Parker, Lampard
    Young, Carroll

  • Comment number 36.

    I think a 4-2-3-1 formation is what Hodgson will probably go for. Something like this;

    Joe Hart

    Ashley Cole John Terry Gary Cahill/Lescott Glen Johnson

    Parker Lampard/Milner

    AOC Ashley Young Theo Walcott/Downing

    Andy Carroll/Welbeck

    Parker as DM. Lampard has been in good form of late so he should start. Concerns are RB position and midfield area.

  • Comment number 37.

    Both Gerrard and Lampard have been given single digit shirt numbers - I respect both of them as individual players but we've already seen what happens when you combine the two, it doesn't work!

  • Comment number 38.

    @ 33 -> "Aaron Lennon. Better than Walcott in every aspect."

    Quick google. Season stats (total) -> Walcott: Apps 46 Goals 11 Assists 13. Lennon: Apps 32 Goals 4 Assists 8.

    I'll take Theo in this England squad methinks. Even if his game is missing a certain something in terms of beating players 1v1.

  • Comment number 39.

    I saw a quote from Hodgson this morning somewhere on the BBC website where he said "two strikers is the way forward for England". So forget all this talk of 4-2-3-1, it can't possibly happen at least until after the next world cup.

  • Comment number 40.

    Phil - Given the 'lateness of the hour' in his appointment as England's Manager and the fact that his best player will not be available until the third group game (by which time it could be 'they think its all over....my goodness it is!)Roy Hodgson has the perfect opportunity to do something different!

    Whats that you may ask? Its simple, he picks the best players he has available,(by that I mean those who currently are playing at their best) in their normal club positions, fill in any gaps with the utility players like Milner and then send them out to play to a plan; any plan that suits their collective talents, or any plan that stops the opposition playing (like Chelsea did to win the CL).

    If he does the above, even if he fails, he still wins, because he used what was available in the best way possible. Any other approach, that does not finish up with England winning the tournament, will mean "Roy Hodgson you and your lads will be in for a terrible beating" from press and fans alike.

    Roy needs to forget about accommodating Gerrard and Lampard and other such nonsense and concentrate on winning, at least two out of the first three games, even if it means 'parking the bus', 'denying the opposition space', etc., etc. I am old enough to remember 1966 and all that; England didn't win beautifully, well perhaps one game.... but mostly they were dull, back breaking, puffing and panting games, but where every England player knew just what to do and when to do it, each player contributing what he did best!..... more of the same please Roy!!

  • Comment number 41.

    The simple truth is our players are not technically good enough to compete against the best, just look at teams people on this blog are picking. Capello admitted English players are not technically good enough to play possession football, in saying that, the back four & Hart are good enough its whats in front of them thats the problem.

  • Comment number 42.

    It's good to see the only thing missing from this team now being supplied: the question of how to accomodate both Gerrard and Lampard. Their record together has been so stellar, and England has done so well with them both playing, it does seem a pity to have to leave one on the bench. Of course if both were left at home for being the worst player in one World Cup (Lampard: most shots, no goals, 2008) and currently past it (Gerrard) the sun will not rise tomorrow morning

  • Comment number 43.

    England's team for the first 2 game should be;
    Gk: Hart, Rb: Johnson, Cb: Cahill, Cb: Terry, Lb: Cole, Cdm: Parker, Cdm: Lampard, Rm: Milner, Cam: Gerrard, Lm: Young, St: Carroll

    And then when Rooney's back;
    Gk: Hart, Rb: Johnson, Cb: Cahill, Cb: Terry, Lb: Cole, Cdm: Parker, Cdm: Gerrard, Rm: Milner, Cam: Rooney, Lm: Young, St: Carroll

  • Comment number 44.

    agree with 31

    England do not have the players to dominate posession therefore need to pack the middle of the pitch and be hard to breakdown. Hence why they need two holding midfield players. Also if you are not as good as the team you are playng against, you match their formation and frustrate them by forcing them wide and letting them cross into the box where the two centre defenders (Terry and Cahill) will be dominant enough to deal with it. i.e Chelsea in the champions league.

    4 -4 -2 does not work against International or even champions league competition any longer. Look at Man Utd this season. Ferguson played 4 - 4 - 2 in the group stages and in the Europa league and got beat by average opposition in terms of european sides. They got away from it in the Premier league where the football is not so reliant on posession winning you games and the players are not as good technically.

    I dont expect much from England in this tournament anyway because I believe this is the poorest squad of England players in terms of talent since 1992. But you only have to go back eight years to 2004 when Greece who, with an average side won by being organised, having a formation that was hard to break down, hit on the counter attack and yes got a bit of luck on the way.

    I just want to see an England side set up correctly, accept their limitations, work hard and see where it takes them in this tournament.

  • Comment number 45.

    Just please dont play Stuart Downing why do managers rate him so highly everytime I watch him he's poor and gives possesion away too often and for goodness sake pick one or the other Gerrard or Lamps and not both they have had countless games together and they are not on the same wavelength, also give the ox a game and not do what Sven did with Theo

  • Comment number 46.

    Gerrard has been so bad this year, why are we insisting playing him in the first team? If it's 4-4-2, Parker and Lampard should go in the middle. If it's 4-5-1, we should still have those two as holding midfielders with Young as supporting striker when Rooney isn't fit, then 2 wingers, with Young moving out wide when Rooney is fit. Either way, I don't see why Gerrard has to constantly be part of England's plans given how poorly he has played this season.

  • Comment number 47.

    sorry, on my last post i meant to say when rooney isn't suspended

  • Comment number 48.

    Only decent comment is number post #18. The two teams there best choices by a mile.

  • Comment number 49.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 50.

    The English Team is done and dusted and soon going to be forgotten.
    Replacing Barry, a useless Central Defensive Midfielder who is supposed to control the game, is replaced by a central defender, Jagielka. Don't tell me he is going to play Central Defensive, because in the minds of Hodgson, he is clearly going to play 5 at the back.

    The England team line up against a rejuvenated France team will be (80% chance):
    ----------------------------------Hart------------------------------------------
    --Jones------------Jagielka-------Terry-------Cahill-------------------Cole----
    --------------------------Parker--------Gerrard---------------------------------
    --Walcott-------------------------------------------------------------Young---
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Carroll-----------------------------------------

    This team, which has 0 creativity and 100 Long balls written all over it, are yet again, going to park the bus.
    But they will crack within 5 minutes playing against France, who have Benzema, 1 of La Liga's best strikers, backed up with Nasri and Ribery, because:
    A) Terry is slow
    B) Gerrard's lack of awareness will give Nasri to run circles around him and his Midfield.
    C) Scott Parker is no Yann M'Villa
    D)Hatem Ben Arfa/Valbuena will have a field day against the so called "best left back in the world"
    E) Jones is no match for Ribery.

    France 6-1
    Benzema 5' 65' 87'
    Ribery 17'
    Cabaye 31'
    Walcott 55'
    Mexes 71'

  • Comment number 51.

    The debate about Glen Johnson vs Richards (who hasn't been seen as #1 by his club), Adam Johnson vs Downing (who at least has played games), Ferdinand vs Cahill (who has just kept out Bayern and Barca), Lennon vs Walcott (who lets remember can also play down the middle) etc is irrelevant now isn't it...the squad has been picked and barring an injury in training (less likely now Heskey isn't around to crock our own players!) it is what it is.

    We are going to concede possession and territory and look to counter with pace on the break...or use Carroll or Gerrard/Lampard to get on the end of crosses. Where we definitely have a better team (and I am thinking of Ukraine and Sweden) we can impose ourselves with the "Up and At Em" English style that, used well, is still hard for many "technically better teams" to deal with. It is not clever or pretty (compared to most of the other countries who have qualified!)...but it still might be effective to a point. After all this approach didn't do Chelsea any harm in the Champs League...and to that matter many of the German teams used similar approaches in many successful campaigns (i.e. power over finesse).

    My prediction is that we will finish with 5 points from our group (W1 D2 L0), edge past Spain (a la Chelsea vs Barca...and even a few months ago Spain vs England) and then lose in the semis.

    ....and then say "well done, thanks and ta-ra" to Lampard, Gerrard, Terry and go forward with:

    Hart
    Walker Cahill Jagielka Cole
    Wilshire Parker
    Walcott Rooney Young
    Wellbeck/Carroll

    I would also look to actively promote promising lads from U21s, Swansea's midfield (I am a fan of their style).

    Lastly, people seem to see Roy as some sort of cuddly soft touch...like the teacher at school people would mimic or ignore. From what I've read this is not him at all. I believe he will instill the passion lacking from Eriksson and the confidence lacking from Capello...even if his trophy cabinet can't match theirs I think the players will play for him and the shirt more than has been the case recently.

  • Comment number 52.

    Lampard & Gerrard just doesn't work for England, it's been tried so many times. As expectations are QF at best, why not try something different (eg Greece 2004 playing to your strength) rather than big name reputations and the age old system.

    Gerrard & Lampard , great individually but it's like having Sausage & ice cream in your sandwich!

  • Comment number 53.

    @gibsonisgreat.

    Yes I agree with almost (or perhaps actually) everything you've said. And I'm glad it's not just me who thinks the fact that Richards hasn't been included leaves us with our biggest problem - Johnson at right back. Given that we then had to call up a replacement for Barry, and chose Jagielka, makes it even more baffling that Richards was excluded. I personally would also have Adam Johnson in before Downing any day (possibly ahead of the wildcard Chamberlain or Theo).

    Only potential difference in line-up is that I would not have played Gerrard if Barry was fit, as Barry and Parker allows a more defensive pairing, facilitating a broadly defensive, counter-acting style. This suits England as we have good quality and pace, but aren't great at keeping the ball, so we may as well accept it and prepare for long periods without the ball by having two defensive midfielders. Given that Barry is injured, I'd be considering Milner or even Jones in there, or frankly even Lampard (who I think is more capable of a Pirlo style defensive mid than Gerrard) but given that Gerrard is captain, obviously he will play. He may yet prove me wrong, but against Norway I saw everything that makes me worry about Gerrard - always trying to do too much and losing the ball too often with risky passes and wayward shooting. Lampard is tight in possession, and a far more consistent shooter as well, if less likely to pull the magic pass from under his hat. Making Gerrard captain is particularly dangerous, as if he plays like he did against Norway, it's difficult to take him off for Lampard/Milner/Jones as suggested.

  • Comment number 54.

    The problem Hodgson is making is playing Gerrard out of position. He very rarely plays in a central 2 for Liverpool (Liverpool fans - correct me if I'm wrong) - he plays as the most attacking player in a midfield 3. He therefore has 2 players behind him to do more of the defensive work - allowing him to push further forward. Which virtually puts him in the same position as Rooney. Now - he can do that for the first 2 games IF you give him that chance. You can also do that for the 3rd game IF you play Rooney as the lone striker. But Hodgson prefers Rooney to play behind a target man - so I think that's out.

    My concern is that with Gerrard in a central 2 man midfield, he only has Parker as a real option. Playing Lampard alongside Gerrard in a midfield 2 plays them both out of position and leaves us with no defensive midfield player at all. Ideally, he would choose from these options:

    ------------------------Hart----------------------
    Johnson-------Cahill----------Terry-----------Cole
    ----------------Parker-------Lampard------------
    -----------------------Gerrard----------------
    Wolcott-----------------------------------Young
    --------------------Rooney/Welbeck--------------

    or
    ------------------------Hart----------------------
    Johnson-------Cahill----------Terry-----------Cole
    ----------------Parker-------Gerrard------------
    Wolcott-----------------------------------Young
    -----------------------Rooney----------------
    --------------------Welbeck--------------------

  • Comment number 55.

    @ The_Soul_Patch_Of_Juan_Mata
    You paint quite a picture. Do you want to put money on that scoreline? I'd happily give you 10-1 on whatever money you'd like to put on it..

  • Comment number 56.

    There's a lot of discussion on formations, but as has been said before, it basically comes down to having a solid defensive shape when you don't have the ball, and giving your creative players the opportunity to be creative going forward.

    ...but England don't have any world class creative players, as they didn't in South Africa and for some time before.

    Both Gerrard and Lampard are industrious, goal-scoring midfielders. Yet even at the peak of their powers their focus is on getting the goals for club and country - not supplying them.

    In terms of this season's Premier League assists, you have to scroll all the way down to joint 11th before a name comes up. That's (somewhat surprisingly) Walcott, with a mighty tally of 8 assists. Young managed seven assists and Ashley Cole six. Those are the only players in the squad with more than five.

    It's all good and well discussing what formation works for Barcelona or Man City, but England just doesn't have players of the Xavi or David Silva (or even Samir Nasri) mould. You play to your strengths and those strengths are pretty few and far between in the English squad.

    Realistically, our best avenues for creating chances are flashes of inspiration from Gerrard and Rooney (the latter being particularly problematic), or hope for some lucky breaks due to defensive errors from hoofing tactics.

    As a final aside, I find it mind-blowing that given the lack of creativity we have Hodgson didn't decide to take an exerienced set-piece taker in his starting eleven. Personally, I'd have taken Beckham even if he sent 90 minutes having a photoshoot by the corner flag as long as we had someone for dead balls. Still, we need to give youth a chance (to sit on the bench and watch their colleagues lose).

  • Comment number 57.

    Hope the Ox gets a chance. Don't wannto see carroll play in front of Rooney, he will want someone fast in front of him

  • Comment number 58.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 59.

    Same old 'kick it high and far' ideology that we've loved since the 70's. Shame there aren't a few more creative players ... ever wonder why? Ha!

  • Comment number 60.

    WALCOTT'S NAME IS IN MOST PEOPLES STARTING ELEVEN??????????

    WE REALLY ARE DOOMED!!!!

  • Comment number 61.

    4-4-2 is not the future, but neither is 4-5-1, 5-3-2, 4-3-3, or any other combination you may choose to pick. The future, and key, is flexibility.

    4-4-2 rarely works, and it certainly didn't against Norway. I'd wager that if that was a Capello game rather than Roy's first then the media would have been much less forgiving. But, 4-4-2 can, on occasion, be successful. However, we need Plan Bs and Cs and the ability to shift between them based on the opposition we meet.

    I hope Roy works out a couple more plans before the Championships. It's a lot to ask with so little time but it's what he's paid to do.

  • Comment number 62.

    GLEN JOHNSON AS WELL - OH DEAR!

  • Comment number 63.

    Can Baines play left wing?

  • Comment number 64.

    HART

    JONES JAGLIELKA TERRY COLE

    MILNER GERRARD PARKER YOUNG

    WELBECK CARROLL

    CARROLL

  • Comment number 65.

    comment number 5 is clearly right that international teams do perform much better when a lot of the team are made up from 1 or 2 teams, however none of the big teams in england are made up of alot of english players which causes a problem. I agree that the back 4 should be based around Chelsea but disagree that Welbeck is good enough to start for England he isn't good enough yet, I think it was a mistake in not taking Sturridge who can offer something different and also Agbonlahor although clearly not yet good enough for England would offer something different than we have and could of made a good impact sub.

    I also completely disagree that Downing is of any decency he is terrible and his crossing is awful too he serves no purpose and was only picked because he cost Liverpool £20 million he has a decent left foot but that space could have been occupied much better with Lennon.

  • Comment number 66.

    If we had Gareth Bale we would win this tournament. Its a shame he's welsh.
    We need a star up front, maybe one day.

  • Comment number 67.

    # 1, 2 & 3

    Jeez, I thought for a while you had carried out you threat to start up your own blog which had somehow been sanctioned by the BBC.
    Phew!!!

  • Comment number 68.

    I think 4-4-2 is the only option that we've got. especially with Rooney absent. theres no point changing the whole team around after 2 games if the first 2 go well. he will have to fit in.

    Its madness that Micah Richards was not selected. And adam johnson. im not even a city fan.

    Hart

    richards terry cahil cole

    johnson gerrard parker young

    rooney
    wellbeck

  • Comment number 69.

    "Hodgson appears locked in to a 4-4-2 shape, which means the 4-2-3-1 formation which could allow him to play Parker, Gerrard and Lampard is not at the forefront of his thoughts."

    Interesting to see how you've reached this conclusion after one friendly. For West Brom this season, Roy has tinkered with the formation, commonly reverting to 4-5-1 with Odemwingie and Thomas up on the wings supporting Fortune.

  • Comment number 70.

    @66

    If we had had a left-winger of Bale's ability 10-20 years ago, then we might have won something. Back then we had a problem position on the left. These days we have problem positions all over the park.

    Comparing the 1996 squad to the present Euro outfit, the only present player who would've got in the team would've been Cole (or Baines). That is a dire state of affairs, but that's where we're at.

  • Comment number 71.

    I am pretty sure when Barry was ruled out most of the country said ' well that's some good news.'

  • Comment number 72.

    First things first, I have no idea why Richards, Sturridge and Lennon haven't even made the squad, especially with Henderson, Downing and Carroll ahead of them.

    As a United fan I would have liked to have seen Carrick in ahead of Barry in the first place, not because I think Carrick is particularly exciting, but simply because Barry is way past it. The only reason he has been considered is because he was part of a League winning team and he has experience, with everyone seemingly forgetting that he is the one who sits in between the likes of David Silva, Yaya Toure and Samir Nasri in the City line up.

    Due to Rooney being suspended and the alternative options to him looking fairly lackluster, I don't have high hopes for the Euro's despite the fact that I would love to see England succeed for once under less pressure (although I'm sure if we beat France we'll think we're the best in the world once again) and also under the guidance of Hodgson.

    For that reason I'm going to point out how good our team COULD be come 2014, regardless of what happens over the next two months. Reading through the comments and the article (which I have to say looks like the same regurgitated tripe that usually comes out of McNulty's decrepit imagination) I was becoming increasingly depressed at the sight of our central midfield. Then I remembered we have Wilshere. I pray for all our sakes he comes back as good if not better than he was before his injury as he could be what we build our team around, alongside Rooney and Young (no bias of course). Seriously though, I think those three would provide so much more creativity than we have ever seen in the past.

    So, I reckon for 2014, bearing in mind that the old guard are likely to fade away in the not too distant future, this would be my squad for the WORLD CUP Qualifiers and beyond:
    Hart
    Walker Cahill Jagielka Cole

    Wilshere Rodwell

    Ox Rooney Young

    Welbeck


    Terry will lose it soon, as will Gerrard/Lampard/Parker/Cole/Ferdinand etc, although they are all quality on their day. So, other squad members that I would happily see in the team would be richards, walcott, sturridge, lescott, baines, maybe carroll (given time), lennon, milner (only at CM), phil jones, Smalling, Gibbs, Adam Johnson (given he stops wasting himself at city), Cleverly.

    I think that looks a seriously competitive team and squad, which given a bit of development could certainly challenge up to the Semi's of the world cup.

    Disagree? Highly improbable. Come on England!

  • Comment number 73.

    Eduard

    Perhaps you should start worrying about your own team?
    I had them down as dark horses but I'm beginning to have a rethink on where my money is going.

  • Comment number 74.

    @70 - The 96 squad wasn't much better than the current:

    Sheare & Sheringam - well that's the Jewel of the 96 team, and although Rooney is easily a match for Sheringham, we have no-one who comes close to Shearer (unless Andy Caroll is going to have most productive two weeks of training he's ever had)
    Anderton - take your pick of our 4th choice midfielders - Lampard etc. are better.
    McManaman (never really did anything did he?) - Young is a better more productive talent.
    Gascoigne - Ultimately despite his wonder goal, Gascoigne was an unfit drunk, and if Gerrard plays close to his potential he's a better player.
    Ince - well he probably was better than Parker is, but we're not talking leagues.
    Pearce - Cole is the best left back England have ever had, and is criminally underrated by some because he's.. well 'not very likeable as a person'
    Adams & Southgate vs. Terry & Cahill. Not much in it. Adams in 96 was better than Terry has been of late, again it depends if Terry plays to form or potential (and he's only 31 so i's not simply that he's past it).
    Neville vs. Johnson - battle for the wooden spoon. You'd probably still take Johnson, even if he is our weak link!
    Seamen vs. Hart - arguable. Hart can match Seaman, but still has to prove it.

    So maybe the 96 edges it, but there's quality there now, and if players do it on the big stage we could be in for a treat. Don't forget Shearer's international record was poor before Euro 96, and with Gascoigne all over the place.. it's not much different coming into the tournament than it is this one.

  • Comment number 75.

    hang on, havent we been doing terrible at international level, so lets throw caution to the wind and play flair attacking football just like Kevin Keegan...

    We need to start playing back to basics football and being a tight unit that doesnt concede goals.

    Mourinhio done it with Chelsea and was applauded worldwide, but if England National team trys something similiar its gets a negative feedback.

    Lets face it no matter how we play, who manages us we will never get respect from certain people.

    Good luck Roy and England and i hope we play to our strength and get the job done as best as we can and build from there.

    England is one ofthe historic football nations, the football vblood runs to deep in this country for England to not be a good competitive team for to long, its just a bad patch and one day we rule again. ( or there abouts)

  • Comment number 76.

    Lampard/Gerrard... One of the finest Italian teams of modern times had a similar problem with (the much more talented) Rivera/Mazzola. They never really got them to play well together on a regular basis. So, because they had a team of players who knew more than one way of skinning a cat, the solution was quite simple: one replaced the other and the rest of the team switched to support Mazzola's or Rivers's strengths, while continuing with their own not inconsiderable input.

  • Comment number 77.

    Hodgson appears to be setting England up to play without the ball - can't see them holding on to it tbh - I am sure Trappatoni will approve!

    England are in a very winnable group and given the perspective runners up in Group D, getting to the semis is quite feasible and if they do anything is possible. That of course is on paper, experience tells us that English players as a group are not up to this level. This is even more so nowadays in an environment where the type of player who historically gave England that xfactor either no longer exist or don't get to operate at the top club level. I am thinking of the likes of Keegan, Beardsley, Robson, Gascoigne or the teenage Wayne Rooney

  • Comment number 78.

    77 * Prospective runners up in Group D :-)

  • Comment number 79.

    Of course, we could become un-British and actually win something. How? Un-British by becoming British. Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland will never win anything on their own. But we could pick at least 2 GB teams that would give the FIFA top 4 a real run for their money. We have 4 national teams because way, way back we showed the rest of the world how to do it. But for decades 'they' have been showing us how to do it and we haven't been looking, listening or learning. I'm really looking forward to the Olympic Football Competition - and the aftermath when Team GB do well...

  • Comment number 80.

    stats on the two causing some debate

    Gerrard PL 89 goals 127 assists, England 19 goals
    Lampard PL 149 goals 166 assists, England 23 goals

    If were argreed that we should be playing the best player in the best position then there it is in black and white.

  • Comment number 81.

    80

    Out of interest - and i have no idea what the answer is - what are the assist stats at international level?

  • Comment number 82.

    Lots of very erudite comments here. Not sure why! Half this motley crew were in South Africa and couldn't do it there so why think ANY combination will work this time?

  • Comment number 83.

    the system that has worked well for England in the last 25 years is 3-5-2 - Euro 96 and France 98 by Venables and Hoddle

    Venables used Ince as the holding midfielder whilst Platt and Gascoigne went forward

    and then Hoddle used Ince and Batty this was only exposed because the opposition realised they had to man mark the attacking midfielder - Scholes


    Bobby Robson actually played 3-5-2 in Italia 90 until Cameroons were pummeling England he switched to 4-4-2

    4-4-2 can work if the team is set up to make it but England players are technically not good enough at international level so always look rigid

    Spain for instance can switch between two systems depending whether they play 1 or 2 up front

    Holland were pioneers of total football so can switch systems as well

    I do remember England were lambasted for rigid 4-4-2 in Euro 2000 but that was down to Keegan's lack of tactical nous

  • Comment number 84.

    @81

    The england stat site doesn't provide that info but it would be nice to know

  • Comment number 85.

    @74

    I assure you the 96 squad was MUCH better than the present.

    For the forwards, Rooney might be a better striker than Sheringham, but Sheringham was the Foil - not the goalscorer. So the question is "Is Carroll better than Sheringham"? Er...no. Is Rooney better than Shearer? No.

    On Anderton, take your pick of our RIGHT midfielders/wingers. Anderton (30 caps, 7 goals) was better than all of them. Anderton's problems were in the medical room, not on the pitch.

    McNanaman on the left. Better defensively than Young, more skillful (Hangeland might try to disagree), and carrying massive interest from all Europe's top clubs at the time.

    Gascoigne was fantastic throughout the tournament and instrumental in most of our attacks. History judges Gazza harshly asking what he could've done had he lived differently - which forgets everything he did despite the lifestyle. Brilliant player. In an England shirt Charlton >/= Gazza > Scholes > Lampard/Gerrard

    Ince - Not leagues, but there was daylight between them.

    I agree both that Ashley Cole is the better left back, and that Pearce was the more likeable person. ;)

    Adams and Southgate - Adams was better than Terry, Southgate was better than Cahill.

    I assume that you're joking when you say there's nothing between Neville and Johnson.

    Seaman - Exactly. He can match it, but he still has a long way to go. Seaman had proved more before the Tournament started than Hart has so far.

    I don't call that "edging" it. I call it better by a rather huge margin.

  • Comment number 86.

    I think Downing has missed his chance to impress and maybe Johnson should be given a go because when he is on the ball he always wants to attack and take on the defender

    He started the campaign well for ENgland but the lack of games at Man City might mean he has lost a bit of sharpness

    I think with Carroll leading the line England can play 4-4-2 much in the same way they did with Heskey

    Carroll has better technique than Heskey and is more of a goal scoring threat so really England's wide men should be whipping in crosses from the wings to him to attack

  • Comment number 87.

    Yep, I pretty much agree with #5...and for largely the same reasons, although I say Johnson over Jones because he's predictable, which will be easier for the other three to deal with.

    As for while Rooney is gone, Lampard would seem to be a natural choice, but, personally, I though Lamps did a credible job as a box to box midfielder (for a change) this season and is a solid alternative to Gerard.

    Walcott however...let's face it, he brings nothing as a #7, except pace, he couldn't cross with a tee and a 10 yard restraining arc. But, as a #10, that pace is a different kind of weapon, and he plays for the premiere short passing team of the Premier league, and is the assist leader on the roster from the last season...

    But, while Rooney is out, it's hard to put Welbeck ahead of Carrol, considering the form of the latter and the recent injury of the former...

  • Comment number 88.

    Theirs shouldnt be a debate, how an England manager can never seem to notice the best squad is shameful, Gerrard is never played behind Rooney and managers alwyas pursist onn plaiying 4-4-2 when it just cant work at international level atleast Hodgson has sided with 4-5-1 it looks . The squad for the first game should be
    Hart
    Johnson Terry Cahill Cole
    Lampard Parker
    Chamberlin Gerrard Young
    Rooney

    Adam Johnson should be in instead of Young but every England manager seems to underate him and dismiss him, how Downing got in instead of him I'll never know.

  • Comment number 89.

    Sorry Carroll should start in the first game he is a much better lone striker than welbeck, who is overrated and diddn't do that much for United and then Rooney should come in and play after the games he's suspended for

  • Comment number 90.

    @89

    Are you apologising for your own view or have things gone so badly for poor Andy that he's now known as "Sorry Carroll"?

    ;)

  • Comment number 91.

    The fact we are entering this tournament with a back four almost entirely made up of the first choice Chelsea line up has to instil some confidence.

    There should be an existing understanding there that can benefit us in the big games!

  • Comment number 92.

    So its 4-4-2. If that's what Dr Roy is ordering then at least try and be creative with it. Opinion seems to lean towards having speedy wingers who get get beyond the defence and fire in strong, accurate crosses... really? And where are these wingers? The squad members recruited for those positions seem to have one quality... speed... OxCham, Walcott & Downing... or the other... accuracy... Young & Milner... but not both.

    Its not like we have a player who could make the most of this tactic even if we had these speed+accuracy wingers. Carroll has hardly proven himself; Welbeck isn't that sort of attacker and neither is Young.

    So be creative and use wide midfielders instead of outright wingers... giving England far more strength and flexibility in midfield and some true creative and striking ability goin forward.

    My 2p worth:

    ..... ...... Hart ..... .....
    Johnston ..... Terry ..... Cahill..... Cole
    Gerrard ..... Parker ..... Lampard ..... Young
    ..... Welbeck ..... Carroll

    Then:

    ..... ...... Hart ..... .....
    Johnston ..... Terry ..... Cahill..... Cole
    Gerrard ..... Parker ..... Lampard ..... Young
    ..... Welbeck ..... Rooney

    I'm certainly no Chelsea fan but after the semi's and final of the Champion's cup no one is going to convince me that Lampard can't play a holding or defensive midfielders role and Gerrard could be devastatingly good on the right... both as a wide midfielder and, moving into the channels, an inside forward.

    Its worth a try.. I'd rather a creative solution than playing at headless chickens.

  • Comment number 93.

    I dont agree at all that parker can only hold... when he first came through at charlton he was an attacking player.. chelsea bought him on his attacking performances

    at west ham (specially his last season) he dragged the team forward single handedly and scored his fair share of goals... in a team like say united he would of got double that due to chances made available to him by the quality of players around him.

  • Comment number 94.

    To the guy who posted about Cole, Terry and Cahill making up 3/4 of the back 4 as they've played together so much....Cahill was there 4 months and was hardly 1st choice. Jagielka has put in better performances for England and should have been vying for a starting position, not scraping into the squad. England are hardly the most creative team, yet have a left back in the squad who can score goals, make goals and is a dead ball specialist (more of a threat than most of the wingers), and was the best left back in the PL last season ahead of the likes of Evra, Clichy and Assou-Ekotto. Yet Baines, a genuine threat, will be sat on the bench.

  • Comment number 95.

    Perhaps if we're after a formation that can put the creative skills of the England team to maximum effectiveness, we could use my old Champ Manager formation.

    ------------Hart----------
    -Johnson-Terry-Cahill-Cole-
    ---Jones--Parker-Jagielka--
    --------------------------
    --------------------------
    -----Walcott---Ox--------
    ---------Carroll-----------

    The back for camp out in their own area, with the 3 defensive midfielders all providing a human shield in front of them, never venturing forward either. When a defender receives the ball, he immediately sprays a "beautiful long pass" towards Carroll, while Ox and Walcott start running. Carroll attempts to flick it on, or hopes the defender misses it, and Walcott/Ox run on to the resulting ball and miss. Er...score.

    7-2-1

    A tactic we can believe in!

  • Comment number 96.

    Funny, I was really unhappy when I saw the rigid 4-4-2 formation we played against Norway, and a lot of people responding to Phil's previous blog were too. Now I see a lot more acceptance of the 'playing without the ball' philosophy, 2 defensive midfielders in front of the back 4, 2 wingers and 2 strikers.

    I still don't like it, and I disagree with those who say that England's players don't have the technical ability to play through midfield, after all, that's what most of these players do at club level (I know teams in the EPL don't play like Barcelona, but they still have link players in defensive and attacking midfield positions, and don't always go route one).

    My guess is that Hodgson is going this route for one main reason: we don't have a single player who can effectively play the lone striker role. Didier Drogba is a monster, big, fast, skilful and knows where the goal is. That's what you need to play one up front. If you haven't got a DD, maybe you're stuck with playing 4-4-2? Still don't think I agree with this, but it might explain Roy's thinking.

  • Comment number 97.

    To all those who want a back 4 of people who've predominantly played together...sound. Jagielka, Lescott and Baines have played together plenty of times and I've picked the 4 defenders who are in the best form.

    Hart
    Jones Jagielka Lescott Baines
    Walcott Parker Gerrard Young
    Carroll Defoe

  • Comment number 98.

    @ 95

    You've missed Lescott and Baines out - I think we may be a little short of cover at the back with the formation you suggested...

  • Comment number 99.

    Speaking as a Liverpool supporter...I would drop Downing for Baines and have him on the left with Cole. Put Johnson and Johnson (assuming a place becomes available) on the right flank, with Cahill and Jagielka in the centre. In the middle have Parker and Lampard with Gerrard just behind Young. Carroll for impact....oh, and John Terry just there to lift the cup.

  • Comment number 100.

    99.
    At 23:48 29th May 2012, Khlysty wrote:


    Speaking as a Liverpool supporter...I would drop Downing for Baines and have him on the left with Cole. Put Johnson and Johnson (assuming a place becomes available) on the right flank, with Cahill and Jagielka in the centre. In the middle have Parker and Lampard with Gerrard just behind Young. Carroll for impact....oh, and John Terry just there to lift the cup.
    _______________________________

    A surprise call up for the bottle of shampoo on the right - well it could be head and shoulders above the other players!

 

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