Forward thinking

England must adopt a positive approach against Montenegro tonight, and I expect them to do just that.

Last Updated: 11/10/13 at 11:44 Post Comment

Hodgson: England players should follow positive approach from the boss, says Gle

Hodgson: England players should follow positive approach from the boss, says Gle

Yes, there will be a few nerves, with a good result crucial to our chances of qualifying for the World Cup next summer, but you've got to get up for these important games and be excited about playing on the big stage.

Roy Hodgson was positive in his press conference yesterday and I expect the XI to come out and get on the front foot from the start, as well.

Daniel Sturridge and Wayne Rooney playing together up front is an exciting prospect, given the form both men are in, while our full-backs also need to join in to push Montenegro back.

The visitors will come to Wembley with a bit of fear, knowing they also need to win to keep their hopes alive, but they've got decent results against us in the past and they won't lay down.

So it's up to England to perform and hopefully they'll run out there without too many nerves - which can be destructive - and get on the ball and create.

If Roy does choose to go with Rooney and Sturridge up front one of them can drop back into midfield if we get outnumbered at times, but I also expect him to opt for experienced players in the middle - which could mean Jack Wilshere misses out on a starting spot or is moved out to the left flank, where he can drift in.

I can't seem him playing both Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard in the middle of a flat four, so perhaps Michael Carrick will come in alongside the Liverpool captain. But Roy will know how he wants to play it tactically and whatever system we play we should be strong enough to win.

Confidence

Another area of the team which has been in the spotlight recently is the goalkeeping position, with Joe Hart's form being questioned by some pundits.

Personally, I'd absolutely back him. In years gone by there were two, maybe three, class keepers to call on but at this moment in time Joe is the top keeper.

Keepers always go through difficult periods but it's how you cope with that and rather than worry about his form I'd look at this as the perfect game for Hart to bounce back and get some confidence.

I don't expect his goal to be peppered and he'll have to keep his concentration high because there will be long periods when we're in control of the game, but if he's positive and gets a clean sheet all of a sudden he's building up his confidence and creating stepping stones to get back to his best.

Positive

Roy was asked about the prospect of England missing out on the World Cup yesterday and I thought he dealt with it in exactly the right manner.

When you're preparing the team for a game like this the last thing you want to be asked is about not qualifying and if you do get it asked you bat it straight back down the journalist's throat.

It's a negative question so you deal with it in a positive way and he did that. He said he hadn't given it any thought and that was a signal to the country and more importantly to the players that he's not given the prospect any energy and they should be confident of getting the job done. And I think they will.

I don't think it's going to be a stroll in the park - it will be a tough game - but I'm confident we'll win.

I've also got a feeling Poland might get a draw over in Ukraine anyway, which would help us. But it's all in our own hands and that's what you want as a manager.

FA Commission

I was delighted to be named on the FA Commission set up chairman Greg Dyke.

I've got my own ideas I want to implement and this is an opportunity to have an influence. The commission is going to look at ways we can change things, in the long term and short term, and how we can improve opportunities for the senior team.

Something had to be done and I applaud Greg Dyke for having the vision to look far ahead and come up with this idea. It's a good idea and it's only going to improve the opportunities for the national team.

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