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Friday, September 02, 2005

Sven is part of the show, who is pulling the strings?

Who is it in the England football camp who is taking control of strategic tactical issues in general? The most I've heard from Sven Goran Eriksson is that he has spoken to the players about the Denmark defeat and shown them a video of the match, to which, in his words, they showed some dismay at viewing. As well they should, but is that it? It is mentioned that the Swede is not one to display his emotions, and perhaps we do not need to see his expressions to realise he is hurt inside but I still do not have the confidence that he is in charge of the players and guiding them through his formation and tactics.

That is not to say that the players disrespect him but I feel they have an opinion on who they believe should start, maybe even always start. A senior player may feel not so comfortable playing with a less senior player or with a player not considered to have been playing good enough to be a first-team choice. David Beckham denies there being 'player power' though admits there being discussions between a number of senior players and Eriksson regarding the suitable formation and tactics for the Wales game. Certainly that is to be expected, for the manager to discuss things with his players, but the question is are the players following a planned strategy of their own or Eriksson's?

Sacrificing a striker for the 4-5-1 formation is appropriate for this game because Owen isn't playing. I suppose Eriksson will cross the bridge when he comes to it, but what if the 4-5-1 works very well? Does Owen then make way to the bench for the Northern Ireland game? It is not 4-5-1 but 4-3-2-1, though I still insist on a 4-4-2, Jermaine Defoe should partner Wayne Rooney, two goal hungry strikers who can run and will shoot from anywhere. Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard are good enough to read the game much better than they did in Denmark and should choose who stays and who goes. In the proposed 4-3-2-1, Beckham sweeps behind the midfield so Lampard and Gerrard can go together, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Joe Cole on the wings. It appears unclear at the moment which formation will start tomorrow, but the likelihood is 4-3-2-1.

As for Wales, they began under John Toshack a shaky side with players suddenly retiring from international football. But the former Real Madrid and Sporting Lisbon coach has had a change in attitude from the remaining players. What doesn't help their preparations is the public spat between Toshack and Robbie Savage, the latter appearing more and more desperate to play after his public words. Toshack is right to exclude him from selection. Wales were minnows until Mark Hughes took charge and the likes of Craig Bellamy and Simon Davies emerged as good talents, Danny Gabbidon's defending alongside Andy Melville, Gary Speed, Savage and Ryan Giggs in midfield to name a few. The side has dropped since then and Toshack seems to be the man who can re-install that bite into the Wales squad again.

I expect an England win, whether it will be a handsome one will depend on the formation employed.



Blogger T said...

Redsman, I can't wait till Sven leaves the England job. Grossly underpaid, a poor communicator to a passionate public, and over-reliant on the performance of individuals rather than cultivating a proper footballing team.

Saying this, however, I must be in the minority of Eriksson and not many else who supports the idea of Rooney playing alone up front. But I am against Beckham as the holding player. One of Denmark's goals came from him picking up the ball in this position and recklessly playing a blind pass to a Denmark forward. I'd put Scott Parker in his position for future matches alongside Gerrard and Lampard, with Wright-Phillips and Joe Cole supporting Rooney.

As for tomorrow, I've looked at the Wales team and they surely have too many inexperienced players to contain England. I will be disappointed if England don't win by at least two clear goals.

9/02/2005 3:51 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

Fair comment, TS. With Scott Parker in the holding role, Beckham is not in the side, something some would view as a catastrophe.

With the 4-5-1/4-3-2-1, Beckham should be on the wing opposite SWP, Scott Parker in the holding role. Beckham has not often enough been running down the wings as he did when a Man Utd player.

The lone striker frees up space for another defender/midfielder. With someone like Rooney, he could produce more than he would do alongside another. But to have someone like Defoe on the bench isn't helpful, both he and Rooney should be playing from the start tomorrow.


9/02/2005 4:39 pm

Blogger Skippy said...

I agree with TS, save to say Sven is Grossly overpaid.

9/04/2005 2:48 pm

Blogger T said...

Thanks Skipper for correcting my error. :)

9/04/2005 4:46 pm

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