June 26, 2006

Lessons learned for England

Ok, so this is what I reckon we learned from the game against Ecuador.

1. Ashley Cole is coming back into form and played a blinder – thank f**k for that.

2. Robinson does not seem to be the world class keeper we were lead to believe he was (though to be fair he has not had much to do over the last 4 games)

3. (and I never thought I'd say this) Hargreaves seems to be delivering on the pitch rather than just on paper. A better replacement for Neville than Carragher who would be better employed at the centre of the back 4 rather than on the right

4. If we play 4–1–4–1 we need to make sure we get ball to feet rather than still playing as if Peter Crouch was up front rather than Rooney. The number of times England pinged the ball high to the front man only to see it go to the opposition was depressing. Every time Robinson kicked it forward rather than passing it into midfield we cried with frustration. The formation depends on passing through a team – not passing over a team.

5. Lampard has not turned up. Will the real Frank Lampard please stand up. What is wrong with the lad. Better move Beckham into the middle and put Lennon on the right…

6. Lennon and J. Cole are the major threats at the moment. Boy, did Lennon look good on the ball. Both he and Cole have been the most threatening players for England so far. Gerrard seems to labour in obscurity when he plays with Lamps, so with the above point in mind – drop Lamps, stick Beckham in the middle (for his free kicks), let Gerrard roam forward to support Rooney with Becks hanging back to provide the incisive pass with Lennon and Cole marauding up the wings.

7. Carrick looked solid enough

8. Terry had a bit of a mare, but I would still support his inclusion thanks to his mammoth defending in the previous 3 games.

9. We will get beaten by better teams at the moment

10. We have to thank our lucky stars that Portugal lost three key players last night to injury or suspension – phew…

11. but…. the other Portuguese players are still rather good, and let's not forget the presence of Big Phil

12. Sven needs to learn to drop players – remember everyone thought it would be Jimmy Greaves leading England to victory in '66 only for him to be dropped. Sometimes you have to sacrifice the individual for the good of the team.

- 4 comments by 3 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. Mathew Mannion

    It's strange that with 7 minutes of football, Aaron Lennon looked like an absolute legend.

    Go on my son! Kick it against the corner flag!

    26 Jun 2006, 09:59

  2. Lennon is able to control the ball more effectively than Beckham – his touch is excellent and he can run at defenders with both pace and purpose. I guess there are question marks remaining over his finishing and crossing, but he hasn't really been given the time to demonstrate these aspects of his game.

    As an alternative scenario (and remember, Football Manager has Lennon as AMR/C) why not play him up front with Rooney? He has had a million times more premiershp exposure than Walcott.

    26 Jun 2006, 10:05

  3. Allan Smith

    I'm glad to see Hargreaves is getting more slack as the tournament goes on. I've always been pro–Hargreaves – I figure that the head honchos at Bayern Munich for the past 5 years must have a bit of football nous about them.

    I'm still not convinced about Gerrard and Lampard playing together, even when both are apparently freed up by an anchorman. They did start to show promise in the last third of the game though, and Lampard just needs one spawny goal off a defender's backside to get that confidence back.

    26 Jun 2006, 12:51

  4. I am just not sure that Lamps and Gerrard is going to work – how long do you wait before you admit that? Quarter final, semi final etc etc.

    At some point you have to stop playing the best players and start playing the best team.

    26 Jun 2006, 13:18

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