Written by David Robinson
England bounced back in dramatic style as they overcome a Wales side who took the lead against the Three Lions. Both Vardy and Sturridge came off the bench at half time to win the game 2-1 with the Liverpool front man hitting late into stoppage time to cause pandemonium in Lens. Hodgson’s men dominated throughout but were once again dealt with a sucker punch when they undeservedly conceded from a Gareth Bale free kick. Great character and ability saw England win the game and top the group going into the last group stage match as a result. I identify three things we learnt from the game.
England have options
England may not have the best squad in the tournament but they do at least have quite a few options. This makes Hodgson’s decision to play just 1 up front even stranger when he has 5 capable strikers with different qualities who are all effective in their own way. England’s strongest team involves 2 up front and the evidence was there to see yesterday with more forward options making it difficult for the Welsh side to contain even when the likes of Vardy didn’t have a huge impact despite scoring. These options don’t just run in attack, the likes of Wilshere, Stones and Milner all can provide adequate cover and give Hodgson something to ponder. Something that should be used to the benefit of the manager particularly when the likes of Sterling and Kane are playing so poorly.
Rooney is key
Always gets a lot of criticism but no one can have a bad word to say about the Captain so far. He has been pivotal in 2 good performances and his showing vs Wales was impressive. He grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck and dragged England through a tricky test having gone behind given the added pressure from the Russia game. He does not hide and now that he has shown this ability in a deeper position. Will be key going forwards.
The Spurs effect minus Kane
In both starting line ups we have seen half of the outfield side occupied by Spurs players. They have all bar Kane transferred their form shown throughout last season on to the big stage of the European Championships. Where the full backs were key for Pochettino’s men they have become equally important for England giving a real threat down the flanks on the overlap. Walker has particularly been impressive with 2 fantastic performance but Rose has been just as vital being a reliable player and giving some penetration down the left hand side where Sterling has failed to deliver. With two bombarding full backs the role of Eric Dier is huge where he has once again covered superbly and provided a great screen in front of the back four. Alli has not been quite as effective but has still given that energy that saw Tottenham make life difficult for the opposition on the ball. With so many players playing from the same club it can bring some consistency and understanding in the pattern of play. The players mentioned have not had to adapt to much to the England side and have instead stamped the Spurs style straight into the England one.
What have you made of England’s performances so far? Let us know in the comments below!