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England – we should be doing better - 17/10/2002

England – we should be doing better
Leading by example, but is it enough?
   Ashley Cole
   David Beckham
   Wayne Bridge
   David Seaman
   Paul Scholes
   Football Association

I watched last night’s game and was very disappointed. I seems a number of players just turn up to play their own game, a team of individuals instead of an individual team. Let's get this into perspective, we should be beating Macedonia with ease – especially when we’re playing at home. But this isn’t a one-off is it? Saturday’s result was an indication that England are under performing, and there are numerous other examples from Sven’s reign. In fact, baring the obvious game in Germany, and the win against Argentina, can we say that England are one of the best teams in the world. We had David Beckham to thank in getting to the World Cup, no disrespect to Greece, but 2-2 at home is a disappointment.

It was good to see Cole and Bridge link up, for once we played left footers on the left – but then Sven subbed Bridge!? Not only that, but we moved to a 4-3-3 formation and Macedonian found it easy. I disagree with playing two strikers up front, you need more guile at this level. It’s easy for central defenders to pick up two out and out strikers, why not play someone in the hole behind a lone striker? I’d have rather seen Scholes push up and start to run at defenders. As well as dragging them out of position, the moment you start to run at centre backs, you’ll pick up free kicks. With David Beckham on the pitch, it’s just a matter of time before he puts one away.

For me, the full back’s are capable of getting forward more, Neville got in one or two crosses, as did Ashley Cole. They should be looking to overlap on a far greater scaleafetr all, there’s plenty of cover, especially when Cole and Bridge linked up. OK, so we open up a little, but we’ve got the players who can cope. It’s about asserting your quality on opposing teams…and we just aren’t doing this. Again, I go back to performances over the last couple of years. I don’t know the stats off the top of my head, but I really don’t (excepting the above examples) recall us dominating games and winning easily. I’m disappointed, and I really don’t know if Sven’s got the tactical thinking that his reputation suggests. A manager is judged on performance and in particular results, so when you pick up the papers and the headlines are all about David Seaman, I’d say that the Sven’s been very lucky. How much longer has he got before criticism is levelled at him? Not that long I think!

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