Monday, June 14, 2010

Some thoughts post-Saturday night (football)

I'm starting to really lose faith with Capello. The best thing about his coaching is that he learns from mistakes - hence the frequently inspired changes for the better in England's second half performances - but I'm worried that he is going to stick with the formation that served him well in qualification, and which isn't going to be up to it at the more elite level of the knock-out rounds in the world cup. NB this is true even if Capello sticks with the formation for the next two games and we get resounding victories.

Let me expand further: it's all about Heskey. Now, I happen to admire Heskey and I have absolutely no qualms about him being in the squad. I would use him, however, as a back-up for Rooney. This is not simply because his scoring record is so appalling, but because of the impact on the rest of the team.

When Capello started out in the qualifying campaign, Rooney was used as the split-striker (an enganche, a beautiful word I discovered recently), and it made perfect sense to have him playing off Heskey. Against the standard of opposition in our qualifying group, it worked well. However, in this last season, Rooney has made the lead striker role his own, to great effect. Much the most frustrating thing for me on Saturday night (other than watching it on ITV HD and therefore missing the England goal!) was seeing Rooney occupied in deep midfield, when the gaps between the US central defence were crying out for his industry and goal-scoring. Rooney needs to play as our lead striker - our best player in his best position.

Sticking with Heskey as the lead striker means that there is a severe knock-on effect for our ability to score goals all through the side, which goes beyond Rooney. It means that Gerrard is also not played in the position he plays for Liverpool (behind Torres) and he is less of a threat. It also meant, on Saturday night, that Gerrard and Lampard shared the midfield and, although they did better in that game than they have achieved before, it also means that Lampard isn't able to play his natural game, as he needs to have half an eye on staying back if Gerrard goes forward etc.

Put simply, Capello needs to drop Heskey and push some of our best goal-scorers into more effective positions (not least because we need to outscore the US if we are to top the group and avoid Germany in the next round).

I don't expect to see it change though.
All this and I haven't said anything about the debacle of choosing Milner on the left and never bringing on Joe Cole. Barmy.

1 comment:

  1. What do you mean, 'avoid Germany'?
    Surely, it's 'whup Germany'?


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.