Merson: Lack of experience

Former England international Paul Merson believes a lack of experience was behind England's early World Cup exit.

Last Updated: 20/06/14 at 23:41 Post Comment

Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka: Roy Hodgson's preferred centre-back pairing in Br

Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka: Roy Hodgson's preferred centre-back pairing in Br

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Costa Rica's 1-0 win over Italy on Friday condemned England to group-stage elimination - with a game still to go - for the first time since 1958.

Narrow 2-1 defeats to Italy and Uruguay did the damage for Roy Hodgson's side but despite drawing some positives from their performances, Merson cited a dearth of big-game players - particularly in in defence - as the downfall.

"I'm gutted. Everyone said we had no chance but we did alright and that's the disappointing thing," Merson told Sky Sports News.

"We probably had five shots against us in the two games and we've ended up conceding two goals.

"We were bright in the first game but we had nothing to lose. When you're in a knockout situation in world football, that's when the nerves kick in, that's when players think, I don't want to be the one to make a mistake.

"I don't care what anyone says, it's alright bringing in youngsters but caps and experience are absolutely vital in World Cup football and we were very naive."

Hodgson left 107-cap Ashley Cole at home, in favour of Leighton Baines and Southampton youngster Luke Shaw, while he confirmed in February that he would not try to persuade former captain John Terry to come out of retirement, instead pairing Gary Cahill with Phil Jagielka.

"Roy Hodgson has been in the game a long time but I said all along that Ashley Cole had to go," Merson added. "I also would have rung John Terry - we shouldn't play the young players if they're not better than what we already have in that position.

"Our young players are not ready now but they'll have 15, 20 caps behind them in a couple of years' time. It's been a learning curve."

Merson’s fellow ex-England international Matt Le Tissier was surprised two of England’s younger players did not see more action but does not think the side should be castigated for their efforts.

“The one disappointment for me is that Adam Lallana did not start the games,” said Le Tissier. “I was incredibly surprised, after the season that he had.

“I thought he was a shoo-in to start the matches and, for Ross Barkley not to get a start, I also thought was a surprise.

“But we weren’t embarrassed in any way, shape or form. They were two pretty tight football matches and, sadly, we came out on the wrong side of them.

“People are going to point and look for excuses.

“You could say we probably did not have enough quality in the final third of the pitch at times.

“And they’ll probably look at the defence and say perhaps we weren’t strong enough in that department

“But I don’t think we actually gave away that many chances. I don’t remember Joe Hart having to save too many shots.

“I think Uruguay had two shots on target in the whole game and managed to score from both.”

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

I

t's wrong to be making a joke out of Bender's name at the expense of gay people. It's the kind of childish, uncivilised thing that Football365 would deride and ridicule if it was another media outlet saying. Why is there a need for jokes like this? Does it make your writers feel like men? F365 might suggest that I 'lighten up', but it is genuinely traumatic for people who have been oppressed all their lives to be the butt of jokes, and to be told...

anamsport
The Beeriod Gossip

Y

ou can't blame De Gea for wanting to leave, he has enough to do in front of goal as it is as well as taking on the role of Man Utd's version of Derek Acorah in trying to contact and organise a defence that isn't there.

rodger's gusset
Van Gaal downbeat on De Gea

I

f you want to take six points off Arsenal, then that's a great strike force. Can't imagine either of them showing much for the rest of the season though...

foot in mouth
Adebayor & Berbatov: You Have To Admire The Balls

Footer 365

Arsenal 1 Chelsea 0: Gunners win Community Shield

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored as Arsenal won the Community Shield with a 1-0 victory over Chelsea, with Arsene Wenger finally beating Jose Mourinho.

Angel Di Maria poised for medical ahead of move to PSG

Angel Di Maria is set to undergo a medical with Paris Saint-Germain in Doha on Monday ahead of a proposed £44m move from Manchester United.

Mourinho plans to manage into his 70s

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho believes he is a better manager than he was 10 years ago - and he wants to continue until he's in his 70s.

Mail Box

Neville Has It Wrong On Chelsea...

One Mailboxer says that the Neviller has it slightly wrong on Chelsea. Plus thoughts on sexy Saints, pre-season reviews, Connor Wickham and televised analysis...

De Gea Disrespectful? Remember RVP...

We got dozens of mails from people pointing and laughing at Brian D for suggesting David de Gea has acted disrespectfully; we printed some. And there's more...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company