In the 00s England played to its strikers Owen and Rooney despite having arguably 3 of its best ever players in midfield. Now Hodgson who seems partial to talent and flicks wants to play to his midfield featuring: an honest but over the hill Rooney who is not first choice in his best position: Dele Alli a lovely player who gives the ball away and has less defensive value: Ross Barkley who can hit the back of the stand with either foot and is a ball hog of limited defensive value: Jack Wilshere a no 10 in reality and utterly absurd to play him on side of a midfield diamond (Cruyff on 10s in 433 and how he played a 31213 #Diamond).
The oddity is the desire to fit Wilshere into roles he will be booked quickly in asked to cover a whole side. Indeed when England have tried this #Diamond in friendlies you’ve often seen the 3 back midfielders within 5 yards of each other with the ball out wide. Given our defense and full backs with the ability of Orcs with the ball a Diamond formation to fit ‘Jack’ in is absurd as it requires them to be width.
This is all nonsense when England for all its past striker obsession actually has potentially its best strike partnership since whenever. Both Vardy and Kane can score. Both make runs for the team and not just themselves. Vardy brings real get behind pace something we’ve not had since Owen passed 19 years old.
The tactics this calls for with weak defenders and a midfield incapable of complex tactics and retaining the ball is a 442. Not a 442 with a diamond or an attacking midfielder but a proper Italian 442. A rectangler box that is almost impossible to pass through and 60 yard balls over the top. You might have seen Leicester play this way. It’s what you do when short of creative midfield talent and great 1 on 1 defenders. It protects Cahill from his lack of pace. It protects the rest from positional misunderstanding with a bit of coaching.
I like Hodgson but he seems a slave to talent and hierarchy. I find it hard given the team and players available to even start Rooney, Wilshere and Dele Alli and have no idea why Barkley is not in the Caribbean looking a total knob he is with Milner. Yet 2 or 3 of them could start for England and in some sort of 442 or 433. This is after all the man who took Joe Cole to Liverpool.
Journos sophistry is now to say England can’t win and pick a team like it’s bursting with talent. It is not. I’ll leave out the nonsensical decision to take Rashford as it does not matter and he’s actually good enough by England’s past standards to be 4th striker. Final thought is how good is Milner with a kettle and tea bags to keep making these teams? All that Orwell reading paying off for wor James.