No starting England place for Rashford?
I don’t see a place for Marcus Rashford in England’s starting lineup. When he came on against Nigeria it looked as if his confidence had been knocked.
He didn’t seem the player he was when, for example, he scored those two goals against Liverpool. He was on cloud nine then, but all of a sudden Mourinho stopped playing him. and that seems to have affected his confidence. You could see that when he was brought on.
One thing about Rashford is his versatility. He can play right, he can play left, he can play up top. But looking at the way England are setting up, there’s no way he can start. We’re now looking at him as an impact player for England, someone who can come on and change a game. That’s the role he’ll be playing as far as the World Cup is concerned.
He could get a lot of game-time as he’s an exciting player. But his confidence has been dented and the impact role will suit him in this tournament.
England were excellent in the first half against Nigeria
The combinations between Sterling, Alli and Lingard looked good at times against Nigeria, but once the Super Eagles got their goal England went back into their shell. I wouldn’t say we looked scared but we should have had another go at them.
We need to have a go at teams more often. In the first half Nigeria looked all over the place, and Southgate will find it disappointing that we didn’t press on in the second period. But overall there were some positives.
There were also some negatives – that’s the point of having friendlies like this, you learn so much before going into the World Cup.
Against Costa Rica on Thursday Southgate may want to look at Harry Maguire. At times John Stones’ passing wasn’t great, and he looked a little complacent. This season for Man City he has made some terrible mistakes.
I’m not certain as to whether Southgate will stick with the 3-5-2. It seems as if he’s set on playing with three centre halves, but nowadays as a team you have to be flexible. You should be able to change formations according to the opposition. He may try the three versus Costa Rica, but I’d look to see him go back to a 4-4-2 or a 4-2-3-1. You have to be diverse.
It’s just a case of which three he’s going to go with. I reckon he’ll go with Stones, but from an experience point-of-view, it’s worth considering Maguire. Danny Rose might come in for Ashley Young on the left, so there’s a decision to be made there. But I’m fairly sure he’ll go with a three-man central defence.
Sané omission shows Germany depth compared to England
I was shocked to learn Leroy Sane didn’t make the Germany squad, and when you then look at England they don’t seem to have much strength in depth in comparison. The squad, and team, probably picks itself. When you think about who’s not in the England 23 who ought to be, you think of Jack Wilshere and Jermain Defoe, but that’s about it.
When you’re comparing the fact that England are bringing Rashford, yet Germany are leaving out Sane, that’s madness. I don’t know what Joachim Low is thinking, but if England get Germany in the knockout rounds, the lads will be jumping for joy that Sane isn’t there to go up against them. What he’s done this year for Man City is unbelievable – it baffles me that he won’t be there.
In major tournaments, you need a Plan B and C. From an attacking point-of-view England have enough – Kane, Vardy, Welbeck – but everyone in a World Cup squad needs to play a part. You need 23 players who can do what most of the others can also do on the pitch.
Squad players need to be able to come in at any time during a World Cup campaign and perform. I’m not sure that this England squad has the experience to hit the ground running when they need to, though they certainly have the quality.