Same Old, Same Old For Under-20s

It was a lot more low key than either the senior side or the Under-21s but Adam Bate watched a familiar kind of performance from England's U-20s against Iraq...

Last Updated: 24/06/13 at 10:12 Post Comment

Latest Articles

F365's Transfer Window Quiz: The Questions

Post comment

How much do you remember about this summer's transfer dealings?

F365's Transfer Window Quiz: The Answers

Post comment

How did you get on? It's okay, there's only a few days left...

All Articles

v Iraq at FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Jun

v Iraq at FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Jun

"Maybe it was fatigue," England defender Jamaal Lascelles said after Iraq's equaliser in the fifth minute of stoppage time denied his team a winning start to their FIFA Under-20 World Cup campaign. "But we've been doing a lot of double sessions and training in the morning, when it is hotter than at night, in order to get used to the conditions. The idea was to keep the ball and get them moving."

For an hour on a humid evening in Antalya, this England team did that as well as any incarnation of the national side has managed so far this summer. Captain Conor Coady exuded calm in the centre of the pitch as he and his team-mates made a concerted effort to retain possession. It worked. England enjoyed 60 per cent of the ball before the break, while John Lundstram and Luke Williams provided the energy on the flanks to ensure there was sufficient thrust to accompany the control.

So when Coady headed in the opener just before the interval, the objective was clear - keep the ball and win the game. That prospective achievement looked even more likely when Ross Barkley sparked a swift counter-attack for Williams to finish neatly after fine work from the ever-willing Harry Kane.

But while the best teams can use ball retention as an opportunity to rest in possession, even when on the ball England's fortunes appear inextricably linked to their energy levels. Consequently, as the movement understandably diminished in the sweltering conditions, all control was lost. Suddenly Kane was chasing channel balls rather than popping it off to runners. What should have been a shock collapse, felt all too familiar.

Firstly, a penalty was converted by Ali Faez with a quarter of an hour remaining and then - as nerves seemed to take hold of the players - desperate defending saw Iraq delight their vocal supporters with a late equaliser as Ali Adnan cut inside to force the ball home. Cue the age-old talk of lessons needing to be learnt, while back home the recriminations begin.

In fact, the point gained is already more than England's Under-21 side managed from their dismal sojourn at the European Championship in Israel earlier this month. However, a draw with Iraq is likely to be interpreted as a new low. These young players are not responsible for the failures of those who go before them, but that doesn't make their efforts any less symbolic of those disappointments. There is something grimly predictable about watching an England team wilt after showing early endeavour.

For England coach Peter Taylor, changing a culture must seem an unreasonable job description when you're armed with little more than a two-month contract. But his assessment of the match in the post-match press conference was accurate enough. "I was very pleased with the way that we started," he told reporters. "But we needed to do more of the same. I think we might have got a little tired.

"Early on in the game, I thought we did some good things. But even for our second goal - which was a brilliant goal - defensively it wasn't good enough as Sam Johnstone had to make two brilliant saves. Defensively, we can do better than that. For the final goal, you don't let somebody come inside. These are things we talk about but when tiredness gets into the body, it gets into the brain as well and you end up making mistakes."

Taylor was accused of making a mistake of his own by the assembled journalists in the press conference as questions were asked of his decision to withdraw Lundstram and Williams with England 2-0 up. The tweaks saw the influential Barkley move to the left flank and some of the initiative was lost. But once again, it seems the very nature of England's energy-expending approach forced the coach's hand. Taylor explained: "The players were getting tired and we have three matches in a short space of time so you have to be careful. You have to make changes."

You have to make changes. Taylor was talking about a substitution in an England Under-20 group game at the Akdeniz University Stadium in front of 3,148 spectators. He might just as easily have been talking about English football itself.

Adam Bate - follow him on Twitter

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

E

ven if United were to sign CR7 & Messi to play upfront, the fact remains Fletcher and Cleverly are playing in midfield. That's where the problem is. Fletcher is too slow with an awful pass, while Cleverly is simply rubbish

mrunited4life
Di Maria - A Signing of Necessity, or Opportunity?

T

hese days, these days, you can't say something racist without somebody saying that you're a racist.

tk421
'Wrong' Views Not Silenced By Shouting...

D

rop Rooney (he's so disappointing, overrated and overpaid), and play Di Maria and RVP upfront, much like the set up at the Netherlands team with Roben and RVP...

eric bush3
Di Maria - A Signing of Necessity, or Opportunity?

Latest Photos

Footer 365

Indian Super League: Alessandro Del Piero to play for Delhi Dynamos franchise

Alessandro Del Piero will play for the Delhi Dynamos and will take up an ambassadorial role in the Indian Super League

Transfer news: West Brom closing on deal for winger Sebastian Blanco

West Brom are close to agreeing a deal to sign winger Sebastián Blanco, according to Sky sources.

Women's football: Wolfsburg captain Nadine Kessler named Best Women’s Player in Europe

Wolfsburg captain Nadine Kessler has been named Best Women’s Player in Europe at an awards ceremony in Monaco

Mail Box

Don't Forget Chelsea Also Need A Striker

With Diego Costa struggling for fitness, one Chelsea fan pipes up in the mailbox to remind us that the Blues also need a striker. Plus, thoughts on Rooney as captain...

A United Fan Happy To See Welbeck Go

One United fan doesn't understand all the fuss over Danny Welbeck, while we also have mails on Arsenal being Arsenal, curious transfers and how to pronounce 'Gaal'...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property