Two consecutive losses for the first time since 1993 have understandably raised concerns about England’s World Cup chances next summer, rated at 25/1 by Ladbrokes currently. All is not lost though and we’ve put forward five possible points that could help the Three Lions moving forward.
Find their best midfield partnership
Steven Gerrard has had more midfield partners than a Texan at a barn dance for England of late. Roy Hodgson needs to decide who to play alongside his quarterback captain, whether it’s Jack Wilshere, Tom Cleverley, Frank Lampard, Michael Carrick, Ravel Morrison or Ross Barkley.
Stick with Jagielka and Cahill in central defence
Alessandro Nesta and Fabio Cannavaro they are not, but Phil Jagielka in particular has grown into his role as the nation’s most assured centre-back and Gary Cahill combines aerial prowess, with decent feet. Most importantly, they have formed a partnership during the second-half of qualification and this must be allowed to cement fully before Brazil.
Get Welbeck back in the team
Adam Lallana has offered a different dimension as the left-sided prong of the attack, but hasn’t been able to be as effective for his country as he has for Southampton. Meanwhile, Danny Welbeck may have his critics, though when he slips on the England jersey he’s one of the few players who seems a natural fit and crucially has an eye for goal, not always evident for Manchester United.
Play Johnson at right-back
Kyle Walker is good player, but too often against Germany he was naive in a positional sense as Borussia Dortmund left-back Marcel Schmelzer seemed to have acres down the flank. Liverpool’s Glen Johnson may not be the finest defender in the universe, though his experience and consistent performances for his club make him deserving of the spot.
Work on set plays
Getting undone by a corner at any level is frustrating and it’s clear England are not well drilled enough in this department. At a major tournament this is such a crucial area both in defence and attack. Hodgson must come up with at least one or two training ground specials to take to Brazil which could just unlock the door for England.
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