After an impressive display against Russia, England will have felt aggrieved to have only taken one point.
Creating a plethora of chances, England finally found the net with 20 minutes to go as Eric Dier’s freekick beat Igor Akinfeev. But a late lapse in concentration robbed Roy Hodgson’s side of all 3 points, as Russia captain Vasili Berezutski headed in an equaliser.
With Wales picking up 3 points against Slovakia the following day this afternoon’s meeting between England and Wales takes on added importance.
The build up has been everything we’ve expected with the two nations firing barbs at each other and the game should be just as feisty with England looking to register their first win following Slovakia’s win over Russia yesterday.
There were a number of talking points from Saturday’s game that will have a huge bearing on today’s meeting, so we sat down with Jason Cundy to get his take on all things England:
Rooney in midfield
Despite my apprehensions Wayne Rooney played well against Russia. In a midfield 3 including Dier and Dele Alli he kept possession and looked to get the ball forward to feed Harry Kane, but if you read my comments on why I was apprehensive, you will have seen it yourself.
The problem with Rooney, who some feel was undeserving of a place in the squad in the first place, is that he is forced upon a team that could work just as well if not better without him. To play Rooney in midfield means England play with a 3 as they did on Saturday. When they did this it meant Alli wasn’t played in his best position at the number 10, this would also be the case if Rooney was to be played at #10 too.
On Saturday we saw how Harry Kane was isolated up top and denied the support that Alli often provided during the season at Tottenham, a partnership that proved fruitful as Kane found the net 28 times and lead Spurs on a chase for the title that fell short at the final hurdle.
Shoehorning him into the side may be best for Rooney, but isn’t best for the team and you wonder just why Hodgson is centring his plans on Rooney when the side have shown before that they are capable of performing without the Man United man?
Bale and Wales’ baiting
Whether Wales and Bale believe their comments or not, they are more than entitled to them and I for one welcome them. He will know man for man they aren’t better than England so looked at other areas that he feels they can match Hodgson’s side.
Footballers are often criticised for not having opinions and providing the safe comment when questioned on matters, so it was nice to hear Bale and Ramsey break from this and spice things up.
Whilst I don’t agree with them it makes a change to the same boring towing of the line.
How I would set up
Rooney won’t be dropped so I’ll move on!
Seriously I would start with the same team although some of the papers went over the top by praising the performance, personally I thought it was 6/7 out of 10.
Sterling has come in for some real stick following his performance but I think he started the game well even if he did look off and by the end had faded. The question is though, who do you replace him with if you were to drop him? England don’t have another wide man to bring in, the consequence of bringing 4 strikers and Rooney, so I’d keep him in.
You can see why he made the subs he did but I, like most people, would have kept Rooney on. At that stage you needed to keep possession and Rooney would have done that.
Kane didn’t look sharp, he failed to touch the ball in the opposition’s box and again you can look to a lack of support but around 60 minutes he needed to come off and if the same thing happens against Wales then bring on Vardy.
Hodgson needs to manage the game as it is in progresses, I feel he sat on his hands and it backfired.