Roy Makes The Most Of His Midfield

Roy Hodgson doesn't have time to create an 'identity' for England, but he is doing the best with the resources at his disposal. Specifically, in his midfield...

Last Updated: 14/08/13 at 22:31 Post Comment

Latest Articles

Three Other El Clasico Talking Points

Post comment

It's not all about Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, you know. We're talking about the pressure on Iker Casillas, Luis Suarez debuting in the big one and Isco's big chance...

F365's Next In The Sequence Quiz - The Questions

Post comment

Different format this week: We give you three answers (plus a clue) and you provide the next answer in the sequence. You'll work it out...

All Articles

Rio Ferdinand kicked up a minor stink this week by tweeting that he was watching the Smurfs film rather than the England game claiming England didn't have an 'identity'. A vague, ephemeral notion this 'identity' might be, but Ferdinand sort of had a point.

"I don't think we've actually really seen an identity, where you could say, 'that's an England team,' where you look at the under-21s and go, 'that's an England team'" said Ferdinand.

"If all the names were taken off the back of the shirts and the colours were changed, you couldn't go in there and say, 'that's an England team, that's our identity, that's the way we play."

Steven Gerrard brushed his former teammate's comments aside, but the England captain is part of an 'identity' that Roy Hodgson is trying to create. Well, the closest thing Hodgson can get to an 'identity' given the time and resources at his disposal.

Obviously, Hodgson cannot try to build something like Spain or the Netherlands have - a true national footballing identity, when the kids play in the same way as the seniors - while simultaneously trying to qualify for the World Cup and placating a pissy media. And then of course there's the question of ability, with no great technical generation of English passers making itself known just yet.

What Hodgson can do is create a team, and one that is as close to the possession-based game that the sages of the land have demanded for the last few years as he can realistically put together.

It's fairly clear now what Hodgson's first-choice team is - or rather, his first-choice front six. A midfield of Gerrard, Jack Wilshere and Tom Cleverley is Hodgson's favoured option - the one he played against Scotland on Wednesday night, and the one that performed so well against Brazil back in February.

It does offer something, too. Even if Cleverley isn't quite suited to the 'number ten' position that Hodgson has shoved him into, and that he would probably be happier in the deeper role that Wilshere occupies - one suspects that, such is Hodgson's love for Cleverley, he would put him at full-back if there were no other places for him, just to get the Manchester United man into the team.

This midfield is far from perfect - it relies on Gerrard maintaining the defensive discipline that he often forgets, it potentially stymies the surging runs that he's capable of, there are the afore-mentioned reservations about Cleverley in that advanced role, and the trio contributed only 11 goals from a combined 74 league games last season. Nine of those were by Gerrard, Wilshere didn't get any.

However, it was excellent against Brazil and the trio showed some promising signs with some neat combinations in the first half (and Cleverley's through-ball for Theo Walcott's goal was delicious), before Wilshere was ushered into that pit of feathers and kittens that we hope he's being kept in to avoid harm or foul.

This isn't an ideal solution, but it's the best Hodgson has got at the moment. At least it looks like he has a plan of some description.

Nick Miller - 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

H

e doesn't need a caoch. He needs a bus. A bloody big one, that he can park across the goal line. And when he gets one, he can do us a favour and let us know where we can buy one from as well.

HarryBoulton
Rodgers: No defence coach

Y

ou are wrong Per, thats the right way the play. Its everyone elses' fault that it doesnt work.

delboy
Mertesacker urges style change

A

s it's panto season coming soon, let me be the first Oh yes you do

munchie
Rodgers: No defence coach

Latest Photos

Footer 365

Premier League: Ronald Koeman looking at European challenge sparked by Dusan Tadic

Ronald Koeman believes Dusan Tadic can spark Southampton into a challenge for Champions League football next season.

Premier League: Manuel Pellegrini confident Joe Hart will sign new Manchester City deal

Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini says he is confident that England goalkeeper Joe Hart will sign a new contract.

Premier League: Garry Monk puts Stoke furore behind him

Swansea boss Garry Monk is keen to focus on weekend opponents Leicester after a stormy week for him personally.

Mail Box

'Goals Like That Can Make You Pregnant'

Those being sniffy about Erik Lamela's rabona are given short shrift in the afternoon mailbox, where criticism of Brendan Rodgers is smashed out of the park...

Does David De Gea Need Competition?

It would certainly be a good idea to give Victor Valdes a contract, while we have more mails on Brendan Rodgers, Arsene Wenger, the rabona and mailbox gripes...

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