Not many people would have predicted a win and loss from this international break for England. Losses always show you what is lacking but some of the lessons to be learned have been on the horizon for a while. If we want to push to win the European Championships next summer i have summarised what needs to be done:
REVERT BACK TO 5-3-2
The Czech game showed how weak we are down our spine and the only way we can play 4-3-3 is if Harry Winks is available but even then our back-line is far from water tight. At full back we are stacked but centrally we are lacking depth and quality. Mings & Tomori being selected is concerning considering one is a Championship level player and the other has barely played in the top flight. By playing 3 centrally we can follow the World Cup model and deploy a pacey fullback inside, this role is perfect for Wan-Bissaka if Kyle Walker and Gareth Southgate do not kiss and make up. Depending on the game situation the 3rd man in the mid park alongside Winks & Henderson is up for grabs but we can then select Kane & Sterling up top.
MOUNT, RICE & ROSE ARE NOT GOOD ENOUGH
Mason Mount and Declan Rice are good young players but starting for England is a step too far for these boys at this time. Rice as a squad player is okay but Mount needs more time at the younger England level. The attacking mid park places are highly competitive especially considering James Maddison and Phil Foden are lurking along with experienced players like Dele Ali and Jesse Lingard.
Choudhury of Leicester and Chalobah of Watford will come into the reckoning for the defensive midfielder slot soon enough.
Rose meanwhile is not even in the top 3 English left back so how Southgate still selects him is a mystery. If you are wondering Chilwell, Shaw & Bertrand offer so much more defensively and attacking than Rose, who is a coward tackler.
SOUTHGATE NEEDS TO LOOSEN UP
It’s plain to see that Southgate has fallen out with Kyle Walker and has issues with James Maddison but both these lads should at the least be in the squad and in the case of Maddison starting based on his impressive club form over the last year. Seeing Maddison play for Norwich in the Championship I see a good player but not at this level. His debut v Man Utd on the opening day of the 18/19 season was so good! He verges on the cocky t$at side a great deal but he is a match winner and as we have so many skillful, fast forward types a man to thread a pass through cannot be tossed away due to his attitude.
Winks was spoken so highly of by the set up but it seems to me that if we had not lost on Friday he wouldn’t have played on Monday. His performance escalated him to “cannot be dropped” immediately, his ball retention is brilliant but the lad can tackle too.
HARRY KANE’S BACK-UP
Kane scored twice but could have banged away at least 3 times that tally over the 2 games. He is bang out of form currently but we all know he will be back soon enough. As we prepare for the summer tournament we need to make sure his back up is in place, this means Wilson, Abrahams & Rashford all starting lead up games and playing the majority of the match. The supporting cast in the line up behind Kane are able to score but we need to know for sure who is Kane’s main back up.
During the World Cup we was amazing at both ends of the field but lately we cannot defend or create anything (more times than not our attacking set pieces set up the opposition). We try to be too clever with attacking play, let a player with good delivery do his part and ensure the players attack the ball, more times than not a effort on target will occur. At the back we miss John Stones, for all his faults being too causal on the ball the lad as a team with Harry Maguire always make sure a England shirt makes a good effort to win the 1st ball.
Next summer will be very intriguing, the French will start as unanimous favourites but England are among the chasing pack, not one of those teams are well rounded but on their day could match France.