The players Gareth Southgate was left with did not bad in their completely meaningless friendly with Germany which ended in a goalless draw.
Let’s not kid ourselves though, this is no revolution from the dullard Southgate, this is pretty much like the situation Hodgson found himself in.
Clueless Roy was talked up as bringing through the youth when in reality it’s just what was handed to him, given his way he would have played the likes of Gerrard and Lampard time and time again and gone no where near bringing on some of the kids like Dele and Kane.
It’s the same with Southgate, kid might do well in the middle of the park but you know Henderson is first choice. Hell, he’s even admitted it himself when saying no matter what if the World Cup started tomorrow then Joe Hart would be his number one. Oh, there’s mealy mouthed talk of competition after Pickford performed well in his debut but it’s just words.
England, it’s much like watching Spurs, far more enjoyable when the other team come to play and Germany being teh far better team came to do just that. Which for the most part created a decent game. They didn’t have anyone up front that could finish off the numerous chances they and the England defence created.
The main problem for England is how quickly they do something. Unfortunately the thing they do teh quickest is slow down and attack.
When they go all out and attack at pace they can be dangerous but far too often they stop and start pissing about passing sideways and then backwards. A number of times it’s due to inept passing, the ball being played behind a player, from where his natural instinct is to pass the way he’s facing – back.
have to say Dier was particularly bad at this during the early part of the game. He seemed to slow everything up, with an awful lot of balls that were never gonna go forward. He made one good pass back when he got into the German box and cut the ball back that created a great chance. It felt like the first time that he’d got out of the centre circle.
It was one of the problems for England. Dier charging forward with the ball would have worked better than a sideways pass with acres of space and a couple of lightweights in front of him. It worked for England when the ball was played forward fast and with the minimum of touches or it was brought out of the back by one of the three centre-backs. Usually Maguire, actually it seemed exclusively Maguire.
Those moments worked but unfortunately we have a manager that wants them to “play out from the back”. In other words pass it around the defence sideways and back. This should be stopped immediately. They can’t do it, they’re still not up to the task and it just invites trouble and if the Germans had a finisher it would have invited a stuffing.
Southgate has finally got the system right. It needs to be 3-5-2, with one holding midfielder, the 3-4-3 doesn’t work, not enough bodies in the middle and the wide font men get in the way of the wingbacks, while the lone striker is isolated.
With Kane up front alongside A. N. Other – maybe go for Rashford, have Vardy seething on the bench, itching to get on, with Abraham now in reserve – Dele further back than his number 10 role, in the mid three to the left of Dier. No Henderson and you can go with the likes of Winks or Loftus-Cheek in the other midfield role. Trippier on the right, Rose or Bertrand on the left, Pickford in goal and your starting XI is looking decent. Just the back three needs sorted out. Cahill too slow and dopey, Jones too injury prone for a tournament, it’s a stumbling black.
Stop the fannying about at the back. Stop players passing behind their intended target. Stop those useless floated cross field balls to the fullbacks that stops the intended target in his stride, stops all momentum going forward and allows defenders to get back or get tight. And you might get somewhere.
But then what chance Southgate has it in him. If he picks Hart and Henderson, then you have your answer.
Loftus-Cheek got the man of the match award and he showed some nice touches but Pickford saved the day with some excellent saves. If he hadn’t the gloss would have somewhat been taken off a reasonable outing. With the players missing it was a decent performance, from one of the youngest and inexperienced England sides ever put out but it was a friendly and they weren’t exactly at full strength.