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Thursday, June 01, 2006

What to expect from England v Jamaica

Apologies for not writing after the Tuesday match, but I felt it warranted mentioning here in consideration of what we would look out for against Jamaica. Gary Neville missed training today after pulling out at half-time against Hungary with a hamstring problem and should not be risked, Jamaica's Watford striker Marlon King appears to have breach the squad discipline and was ordered to leave, and from what I witnessed of Reggae Boyz' match with Ghana, they do not have a close-knit unit cohesive enough to form much resistence. The result is not key, the performances will be. When Neville left at half time on Tuesday night, Jamie Carragher moved to right back from his holding role, which Owen Hargreaves then replaced, and Tuesday night also put in motion Sven Goran-Eriksson's option of Steven Gerrard behind Michael Owen, which I felt had more pluses than minuses. The role gave Gerrard the opportunity to burst into the box from a shorter range or drift outside the edge, which led to the penalty. Let me say Gerrard dived and I don't condone it, and it was just for Gabor Kiraly to save it. Frank Lampard will come better in the tournament, if need be.

The question is whether Eriksson will be content with seeing others in the holding role, as the 4-5-1 looks more appropriate in Rooney's absence. Michael Carrick should be allowed the positon on Saturday, Hargreaves hadn't pleased me with his contribution on Tuesday, Carragher did well enough but should start in the right-back role. Another question is is Owen fit enough or needs more rest? I think he should, leave the forward role to either Peter Crouch or Jermaine Defoe, or even Theo Walcott. Eriksson could apply 4-4-2 and use members from the side that played against Belarus, bring in Matt Dawson with Sol Campbell at the back, Ashley Cole, Carragher, Jermaine Jenas with Carrick, Aaron Lennon and Stuart Downing on the wings. Upfront, Defoe should get on with either Crouch or Walcott, interchange between use of pace and height advantage. I see good sense in using more of the second string to strengthen their play.

Some may say it is better to use the senior players for more preparation before kick-off next week Saturday, but with neville and Owen looking dubious to play in less than 48hrs, my side to start against Jamaica would be:

Scott Carson

Jamie Carragher
Matt Dawson
Sol Campbell
Ashley Cole

Aaron Lennon
Jermaine Jenas
Michael Carrick
Stuart Downing

Jermaine Defoe
Peter Crouch/Theo Walcott



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I understand where you're coming from, suggesting a second string team, but I have to disagree. We really need to give the first team a chance to get a little cohesion, and given how much Sven chops and changes, there isn't much there. If Neville is to be absent, put Carra in at RB and Carrick in the holding role. See if he can do better than that awful performance against Belarus. Also, Stevie needs more time to get used to his new role, so stay with the 4-5-1.

6/01/2006 4:19 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

Thanks, Anon. It's a fair point, we're some 8 days plus from our first game and frankly we're ready to go 4-5-1 to keep Gerrard and Lampard in the side without sacrificing protecting the central midfield. For me the side that begun against Hungary is what to expect against Paraguay, yet Paraguay will aim to move around much more than the Hungarians, who we kept on the backfoot for much of the game. Other words, our side still looked some percentage from an ideal unit, particularly with question to Owen's fitness and we need to pracitce breaking down the defence quicker at senior level. In that respect I can understand the requirement for another outing by the seniors. I still think Eriksson should have gone with more experience and still have pace and a proven goalscorer in either Darren Bent or Marlon Harewood, than Walcott. Especially with Bent accustomed to being the lone striker for Charlton.


6/01/2006 6:58 pm

Blogger EL said...

Come on you FIFA!

Come on you FIFA!

Come on you FIFA!

6/01/2006 7:43 pm

Blogger sid said...

I agree with Redsman formation and player choice. Its preety much what Marco Van Basten did for Holland. Its good to give everyone in the squad a good run it before the world cup so he can asses their fitness level and form before making any substituitions during the world cup. It could also leave the opposition managers wondering who would start during the world cup as well as leave them wondering over which tactic England will use. I dont agree with him that England should have selected Bent or Harewood instead of Walcot. I dont think they have enough expererience and have prooven themself at this level. I would have gone for either Fowler or Defoe.

6/02/2006 3:31 am

Blogger RedsMan said...

I discussed Fowler with my colleague SKG, for he suggested Fowler initially, and I felt Fowler wouldn't have the fitness level required at international level unless he was playing regularly, and I can imagine some reaction to Fowler's inclusion. The selection up front for the WC has been dealt a harsh hand, and I think too much has been made of Rooney's recovery. It has happened and we deal with it with some hope, but to others, and I include the media, it's as if if he doesn't go, it is doom and gloom. His injury has, nonetheless, made things very difficult and it was Rooney, Owen, Crouch and Defoe up until then. Here Harewood and Bent wouldnt be included due to a lack of experience with the seniors, but once Rooney became injured, Eriksson should be looking to a proven goalscorer as a potential replacement, and it is here I would consider Harewood/Bent.

So much, too much, is made of Rooney, will he or wont he, dates of scan, Sir Alex's comments, Eriksoon's comments, has annoyed me but may have had a desirable effect of keeping attention from the training camp. With the attention regarding Walcott, though my colleague T insisted Walcott would not let it get the better of him, I wonder if he feels he must produce something on appearance for the media to hype about or be looked on later on with less enthusiasm, for it is expected he will come on in the WC and make an impact like Owen. Goodness knows why the furore over Crouch's celebrations when SWP did the same thing before.

The 4-5-1 against Hungary pulled through its test and as it allows for both Gerrard and Lampard, and pleased the country, Eriksson will go through with it. That would ask who utilises the holding role and could open up for either Carrick or Jenas, and watching them again tomorrow could answer that question, though some will say it has already been answered. One point from the Hungary game is that in a three-man midfield I can't recall Lampard coming back quickly under attack, leaving the central midfield undermanned. Correct me if you feel I'm wrong, but under a counter attack, we have to get back immediately and cover and I dont feel our midfield did that as sharp as expected, and that's my only worry come next week.


6/02/2006 6:52 am

Blogger Skippy said...

I don't think it matters what team you play in these meaningless matches. It is all about fitness and players getting a run out.

6/02/2006 11:58 am

Blogger T said...

I think I disagree with you Skipper. These matches are good for getting the team working more fluidly together and - if the result and performance is good - to increase the psychological feel-good factor going into the biggest tournament in the world.

Redsman/Sid/anon good debate about what sort of team should be selected tomorrow. I personally agree with Anon that I'd like to see the first team line-up again- but with Carrick experimented as the anchor man in a five man midfield. I want to see the first team because it is surely in their interest that they get as much proper match practice
as possible.

I also think it makes sense that Sven sticks with the 4-5-1 as it is anticipated that for the group stages - and perhaps the whole comp - Sven will only have three out-and-out forwards to call upon. Plus, as Arsenal showed this season and Liverpool the one previously... the 4-5-1 is suited to high level knock-out football.

Finally, not wishing to anger you more Redsman :), the breaking news today is that Rooney has been seen at the training ground sprinting, turning, and kicking a ball with both feet....

6/02/2006 12:26 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...


I predicted he would be ready for in time for the Sweden game, and certainly his availability would bring the squad to the full strength we expected. I hope we can get the six points before then, I think we can and if we dont then we will not be, again, playing to our full strengths, for what we have come accustomed to is seeing the squad members playing so well for club they should be equally for country.


6/02/2006 12:55 pm

Anonymous Nturtle said...

G'day all!'s certainly going to be interesting...what will the mad Swede's final warm-up match be like!?!?!

I see on some sites that Beckham "says players prefer 4-4-2"...well...what can you say? Most Premiership teams indeed play this system...or are aclimatised to it pretty well. The focal point is probably how to work it between the players...rather than a particular system. My main worry is that England haven't shown cohesiveness...and willingness to work together as much as possible.

Selflessness is not easy in a big group of stars...and where we have set players to take set pieces, penalties,'s a big worry that it's not as flexible as can be.

On the other hand...a coach like Hiddink for Australia is adopting the opposite mentality to Sven's "system tinkering" in that he seems to demand flaxibility of all players...left to right, front to back. The true test of this will be against the Netherlands tomorrow...

But back to's probably just a sad fact that the English press don't like leaving him have to see the game for ourselves to understand how good or bad it can be.

6/03/2006 5:45 am

Blogger T said...

Thanks Nturtle... and really interesting observations about Hiddink's policies with the Aussies.

England looked really cohesive today playing the 4-4-2, Nturtle... but then again Jamiaca gave England so much room I think I would have done a solid job slotting into the England central midfield! 6-0 was about right... and I reckon the feel-good factor has peaked nicely for the start of England's tournament in a week's time. I must say I'm feeling good about England's qualities going into the tournament.

P.S. Nturtle, it would be great if you could keep us posted on your perspective of Australia's progess during the World Cup... it will definitely add value to our analysis of the tournament!

6/03/2006 5:22 pm

Anonymous Nturtle said...

Thanks for the encouragement T!

Indeed...Redsman's post on England Jamaica was great...I have much to learn as a young Padawan!

I'll do what I can on Australia...parallel to what surely will be good commentary on England!

6/04/2006 7:19 am


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