Sunday, June 25, 2006

Sven sees the light. Hallelujah!

Sven sees the light. Hallelujah!
Leaks coming out of the England camp confirm what many fans had prayed for all along - Sven's ready to switch to a flexible 4-1-4-1 system. This is a move that could win England the World Cup. No, really. Stay with me!

Coming into the tournament as one of the favourites, England has largely disappointed with turgid performances and route one tactics. Michael Owen's injury could be a blessing in disguise however, giving England the chance to compete on equal terms with almost every other nation in the tournament that deploy split strikers or five through the middle of the park.

Tactically England has got it wrong under Sven for some time now. With Owen and Rooney up front and Lampard and Gerrard in midfield, England is unbalanced. It's a system that suits only Rooney - with Owen lacking a target-man partner that he craves, and Lampard or Gerrard compromising their natural attacking instincts for the good of the team.

With Owen out England should bring in Carrick as a holding midfielder, releasing both Lampard and Gerrard to devastating effect in support of a lone front runner, Rooney. A 75% fit Rooney will find it considerably easier to play up front on his own than 'in the hole' - his normal position. He's good enough, quick enough and strong enough to do it better than anybody.

A really bold move by Sven would be to inject some pace into the side, in the form of Aaron Lennon. Contrary to tabloid opinion Beckham has been effective - he is England's leading assister at the tournament. But against Ecuador Sven could move Beckham into the right back slot, negating the principal risk of deploying one striker - that England gets entrenched in their own half. Lennon would ensure that won't happen.

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