What England Needs To Do

An England fan waves the flag of St. George before the 2010 World Cup Group C soccer match against the US at Royal Bafokeng stadium in Rustenberg June 12, 2010

England so far have been…poor to say the least. Still, it hasn’t been for want of effort or heart as some fans would believe. If they didn’t care then the scorelines against the United States and Algeria would have been much worse. However, changes need to be made, not only to qualify from the group, but to ensure a satisfactory run in the World Cup.

Against Slovenia, England will face another team with the underdog mentality, a team that will sit back and absorb possession and then attack on the break. Against America they showed they can produce in the final third, so the victory England need will not be attainable with the tactics currently employed.

England’s problems so far, have not stemmed from their defense, but from a lack of goals. That is not helped by the fact that their one true striker has to come out to midfield to receive a touch on the ball. Watch the Algeria game and you will see Rooney come all the way out to the halfway line to receive a pass, and then lead the attack into the final third. It’s unacceptable that he should be reduced to taking contested strikes from 25 yards out because England cannot give him service at least equal to that which he receives from his Manchester United teammates. After all, the one thing nobody was worried about going into the tournament was the strength of England’s wingers.

Yet that has been a weakness, play on the flanks is essential to open up space in the opposition box and yet England have put makeshift players there. Gerrard on the left with the asterisk next to his name saying “with license to roam” is not a solution, because he is constantly roaming. And can you blame him? He is at his best surging forward through the middle, and when placed on the left he automatically gravitates there. Against Algeria Ashely Cole was left by himself to cover the offensive and defensive duties of the entire left side.

Gerrard needs to be in the hole behind Rooney, so that the opposition has to focus on somebody besides Rooney. It’s all very well Heskey using his strength to flick balls down, but if nobody has space to do anything with the ball, what’s the point? Defoe can also be used instead of Heskey because of finishing ability, for two matches running now, England’s offense has stuttered, because it relies on too few outlets.

Taking Gerrard away from the left means that Joe Cole can be brought on, and after looking lively in the warm ups, I have no idea why he hasn’t played. Maybe he’s a prat but so are the majority of footballers anyway. He can do multiple things with the ball, which is important because the opposition know what England will do with the ball up the field every time. It’s either aim for Heskey so he can give it to Rooney or toss a cross into the box for anyone. Cole can cut inside and create for himself and others, again adding more variation.

The bottom line is, when something isn’t working, it needs to be changed. The talk of England not having the talent is rubbish, stack the squad up against the likes of Germany or Italy and it comes out ahead, and even the most pessimistic will say they’re even. The team is not the best in the world, but that doesn’t mean they can’t achieve a solid run in this tournament.

4 thoughts on “What England Needs To Do”

  1. You’ve hit the nail on the head, it was easy for Algeria to defend England and when they won the ball they were better than England at holding the ball under pressure which meant it was a long time between attacks and Rooney started to go searching for the ball in midfield.

    The biggest reason was a lack of width on the pitch. Johnson never overlapped Lennon and Lennon never attacked his full back. On the other side, Gerrard continually came inside to cramp the space taken by Rooney and Lampard whilst there was then no one left on the wing (and because no one was holding it up out on the left, Cole couldn’t get forward quickly enough to be effective at all on that side).

    It surprises me for a coach like Capello to not realise that whilst England aren’t the best at holding the ball under pressure, they do have a huge strength in their wingers, so why not use them to best advantage.

  2. “The talk of England not having the talent is rubbish, stack the squad up against the likes of Germany or Italy and it comes out ahead, and even the most pessimistic will say they’re even.”

    And therein lies the problem. Stack them up against Germany and Italy and it comes out ahead? Based on what? Overinflated valuations from Goldman England? Anyways, it’s not about the talent, it’s about the team. And England most certainly is not a team right now.

    I say, Gerrard in the hole, Carrick and Barry in midfield, Lampard (or Cole) and Lennon wide, and Heskey on the bench where he belongs. Shoulda brought Theo as an impact sub at least.

  3. It is unfortunate that teams are picked based on past glorys. We need to search for players who display passion who would say I will fight till the colours fade. Capello should have selected passioante players – Rooney for his fearless drive, Defoe for his guts at tackling and wanting to make his name, Crouch for his daring stab at goal at every opportunity, Gerrard for his ability to swing the ball at goal with accuracy, Walcott for his speed and running at defence to distabilise them, Lampard for his dedication at holding his cool, Johnson for his energy and ability to move forward, Cole for his giggs like winger ability to run down the left, Lelly King for his dogged determination and meaness,
    We need meanmen not stylish afterwards see how GB team won the Tokyo olymypics relay – Frank Dicks book spelt it out that it was not speed but guts Akabusi is passionate and he used his sheer mean ability and dogged determination to outwit the USA.
    Football is not a gentlemans game it is a mean game so we need mean bull fighters who want to make a name and are hungry for glory on their return.

  4. What they need to do is lighten up. That is it.

    They have the players to score, the talent to win, and the quickness to run.

    They look like they are pent up at all times. Just lighten the hell up

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