So England are out of the World Cup; eliminated from the Group Stages for the first time since 1958. Questions have been instantly raised about the team and the management but to be honest, England haven’t played poorly. But if England played decently, then why are they out? I hear you ask. Well, here is how I see it.
Roy Hodgson is trying to cement young players into the team, players such as Raheem Sterling, Ross Barkley and Alex Oxlaide-Chamberlain, as well as mixing it with the experience of Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney. He is planning for the future and I think it has been the correct decision by the FA to back Roy Hodgson for the Euro 2016 campaign. But to plan for the future, you need to experiment. I think that’s what Roy has used the World Cup for. The back five (Hart, Johnson, Cahill, Jageilka and Baines) will most likely feature in France in two years time. However the forward six may be different. Gerrard’s future is in doubt, Lampard will be too old. Players like Jordan Henderson and Adam Lallana will arguably hit the prime years of their careers, making it difficult for Hodgson to find the balance in the team. Perhaps the players picked weren’t ready for the World Cup, and more experienced players who have retired should have been called up or persuaded to play. Players such as John Terry and Ashley Cole, who have been there and done it. Baines struggled against the Italians and perhaps the Chelsea pairing of Terry and Cole may have been much more solid.
The team formation was one that has been questioned. The 4-2-3-1 formation seemed to not suit the players. Two holding midfield players seemed to make the team look deeper. The uncertainty of where to play Wayne Rooney was also another huge factor. This was the press and public pressure constantly asking for Rooney to play here or there and it to me, made the whole team a little annoyed. Wayne Rooney is a world class player that should play behind the striker. He gets into the box and is more dynamic and a much bigger game changer in the number 10 role.
Tactically, I would have had two pivotal instructions I would have given to the players. Number one; don’t give Andrea Pirlo any space to play his game. Make sure he only passes sideways and backwards. Number two; don’t allow Luis Suarez any space to shoot. These weren’t followed in the two games and we got punished. Andrea Pirlo and Luis Suarez beat us. They are two of the world’s greatest players and to give them the time and space we did, we had it coming.
So we may be out of the World Cup early, but good things come to those who wait, and I predict a much more successful Euro 2016 in France.