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Football News: The England Football Team Have Two Problems

The England Football Team Have Two Problems

England have two problems and they are both down to Gareth Southgate. The first is the squad he has chosen to take has only two players who naturally play on the left in defence or attack (Shaw and Gordon). One of which is injured and the other hardly selected.

England literally have no left-hand side, that lack of width makes it both easy to defend against and offers space to attack England. England are like a boxer with their left arm in a sling and a limp in their left leg. Totally unable to offer any sort of balance or movement, not able to defend or attack properly.

There isn't even an excuse for it. There were options, Colwill, Branthwaite, Doughty, Mitchell, Rashford, Sterling and Grealish were all available and would have offered a natural left sided option.

The second error Southgate is making us trying to cram all of his star players on to the pitch at the same time. Which is exasperating the disjointed shape. I'm not sure if it's a limited tactical understanding or just fear that leads him to make the decisions he does. Either way, it's not good enough.

With the players available, the best thing to do is play Walker, Stones, Guehi and Gomez in defence. Gomez has at least played that position most of the season and is more comfortable defending in that position. Trippier is best used when he can get forward, something that he can't do as well when on the left.

With this back four, you have two options. You want one player to step forward into midfield, forming an in possession three at the back. That could either be Stones stepping into midfield like he does at City, leaving Walker to use his pace to stop counter attacks. Or Walker can push forward as an overlapping option wide, giving Saka more licence to cut inside. You will probably want to do both at different points in the game.

The midfield is simple, Gallagher is fine as back up to add energy later in a game but shouldn't be starting. Trent isn't a midfielder, certainly not a midfielder in a double pivot. He needs to be dropped.

Mainoo and Wharton are great young players and will have chances to play in some games. The obvious midfield though is Rice and Bellingham. With Stones stepping into midfield that would give Bellingham the licence to push forward but his energy, tenacity and ability to drive the ball forward from this area of the pitch is needed.

The forward positions should be Saka, Foden and Gordon behind Kane. Saka and Gordon give the attack width and pace in behind. They would need to stay wide unless in the ball to keep that width though. Something I think both are capable of.

Foden needs to be given that No.10 position to get the best out of him. He has that finesse to unlock stubborn defensive sides (that you come across at international level).

Kane should probably start, but I could see an argument for Watkins. That said I think Watkins energy off the bench against tiring legs is more useful than Kane off the bench.

In possession, the shape would be more of a 3223 with a box midfield that helps control possession. You'd have Walker, Guehi and Gomez as the defensive line, Stones and Rice at the base of midfield, Foden and Bellingham in attacking midfield, with Saka, Kane and Gordon in attack.

It's the team that gives the most balance and gets the best out of most of the players by having them play a role that suits them. It's not rocket science, just about being brave enough to pick an England side that places more emphasis on attack than defence due to that being the strength of the side.

Written by Shappy June 23 2024 15:28:06