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Friday, 29 June 2012

England: Time for a Change part 3: Looking Forward

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It is a myth that England can’t play like Spain or Germany or Italy because we don’t have the right types of players. We may not have them in abundance but we have a handful but that is all it takes to change a team’s philosophy.

The only way to increase this output of technically gifted players is to rework grass roots football and build from there, but that is a long way off happening and for me to discuss in a different article.

CM: Jack Wilshere, 20

England's next big star, Wilshere’s creative spark has been sorely missed by both Arsenal and England this past year. He has great ability on the ball with an eye for a pass but most importantly he is hard working and in the coming years will be the first name on England's team sheet.

CM: Tom Cleverley, 22

Similar to Wilshere in many ways, comfortable on the ball demonstrating great technique in both passing and shooting, but essentially and most importantly values possession and movement over a more direct style of play. These qualities in both these players are essential if England is to adopt the 4-3-3 formation as it is crucial every player is comfortable on the ball and flexible enough to fill in for any position on the park.

CM: Jack Rodwell, 21 / Lee Cattermole, 24

For this position I am looking at a more defensive minded/enforcer type of midfielder to complement the two more attack minded playmakers. Gerrard for the time being could fill this void but at 32 and his history of injuries, there is the possibility he may not be around performing at the highest level by the time the 2014 World Cup gets under way. That being the case I needed to search for different options. Two young players in particular stood out them being Jack Rodwell and Lee Cattermole both have Premier League experience and have shown glimpses of their potential. However, neither of them has stood out or forced people to take notice and for that reason alone a question mark still hangs over both their heads as to whether they can command this position.

Wide forward: Welbeck, 21

Fantastic tournament and a great season at Old Trafford, Welbeck has proven he has what it takes to make the step up and perform at the highest level. A place should always be made for him in any England's starting squad and with his versatility to either play on the wing or through the middle he will be a massive player for England in the years to come.

Wide forward: Oxlade-Chamberlain, 18

Another potential England superstar, the boy has everything pace, strength, skill and technical ability. He has provided a few decent performances for England but clearly still has a lot to learn, that will come in time though and I’m sure he will play a larger part this season and the next for Arsenal.

Striker: Rooney, 26 (C)

What else is left to say about Rooney, he has the potential to be considered England's greatest ever player but for some reason fails to live up to his full potential for the national side. He didn’t endure the greatest tournament but he still is in my opinion England’s best player and therefore warrants a place in the first eleven.

The reasons behind my forward selection is to put the emphasis on fluidity, any of the front three could interchange positions exploiting space and defensive weaknesses all are comfortable in possession and I’m sure would provide an exciting free flowing unpredictable attack force.

So with all that being said I absolutely disagree with the idea England do not have the right types of players. As I have shown we have enough to play the football everyone would love to see. This is discounting numerous other established/potential England internationals such as: Theo Walcott, Ryan Shawcross, Martin Kelly, Adam Johnson, Daniel Sturridge and, if he lives up to all the hype, maybe even Nick Powell (if I have missed anyone out be sure to leave a comment).

The problem is our culture and what we expect from our teams. With the exception of the Arsenals and the Swanseas of this world the majority of Premier League clubs put their emphasis on immediate gratification. Our fans have been conditioned into demanding fast paced, attacking football and that does not afford a player to be patient in possession picking his passes methodically because you know before long the crowd will start jeering. This is a massive reason as to why Michael Carrick has no love outside of Manchester, he would have been the ideal foil for Gerrard in the England line up but there was no demand for such a player and so we paid for that oversight.

My final thought is this, the wounds England have endured in recent years will only heal if they have courage enough to change the dressing. It will take patience and encouragement from everyone involved, but there is no greater healer than time and by 2014 with a new thick layer of skin England will make a statement that the world will listen too with a change in appearance, a change in style and a change in attitude. “You were born to win, but to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win” Zig Ziglar.


Article written by Dave Gwill

Related Articles: 

England: Time for a change - part one: Inquisition

England: Time for a change - part two: Out with the old

England: Isn't it nice to have no excuses? - Football News & Transfers

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Colin Illingworth



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