The Positives from England v Belgium
I watched the game and then had a good listen to the UK’s public phone in’s on the sports air waves. I heard a ton of critical comments about the England performance and i’ll try and answer what I heard, with what I feel.
For now, lets focus on the positives and build on what I previously wrote about England’s “Nothing to lose” bonus.
I’ll start by saying that Milner is a much faster player than I ever gave him credit for. Along side an attacking line up of “The Ox”, Young and Welbeck, who are all pretty quick off the mark, he did not look too out of place. Our attack, up until we scored the first and only goal of the game, was an electric turn of pace and although it didn’t always click (why would they, they haven’t played that often together) was one of the most dangerous looking for shere pace I have seen in a long time.
If you were to maybe add Walcott to this instead of Milner (Milner is quick, but Walcott is quicker) and you have a counter attacking forward line that could soil the pants of any international back line. On top of this, you have three players (Ox, Young, Walcott) that “can play a bit” and have top level experience of playing wide on both wings as well as down the middle. In Welbeck, we have a very intelligent forward that makes sensible runs to move defenders to create space and has an eye for goal when the opportunity arises.
In answer to the critics about possession, I ask the simple question, do you understand the concept of the counter attack strategy? Especially when you are winning 1-0.
In answer to the critics that said we wont win anything playing 4,4,1,1. I point to the Europa cup final, where I high pressing 4,1,4,1 dismantled a 4,2,3,1 inside 30 minutes and then we point to Chelsea v Barca and the ability to defend a lead.
Our team has class and extreme pace going forward, they can score goals. I would go so far as to say Rooney may find it difficult to get back in the starting forward line after his ban is complete, maybe he could play as an attacking mid?
To defend a lead you need some strong leaders on the field, a good manager to organise a defensive unit and we have the proverbial bus. Yes Belgium had a load more shots on goal, but tame shots straight down the throat of our goal keeper can be absorbed for 90 minutes. England did well.
Another positive (that most people have been complaining about, even though they didn’t want the pairing in the first place), Lampard is out! So the complication that I spoke of in my previous blog “England and Euro 2012” has sorted itself out, it’s one less problem, which is good for team dynamics.
We now see that Cahill is out, well, he’s unproven at this level anyway, so no one can feel aggrieved about his absence. I am suprised about Kelly replacing him, but my suprise is a good thing, because it means it’s new and it’s fresh with “nothing to lose”.