England defeat: Five issues for Roy Hodgson to address

What should the England manager do before the crucial game with Uruguay?

After losing to Italy in Manaus this Saturday, England must face up to the fact that they will almost certainly need to win both their remaining games if they are to qualify for the next round.

With Copa America winners Uruguay and tournament surprise package Costa Rica to come, Roy Hodgson does not face an easy task if he is to turn England's fortunes around.

Here we look at five issues the England boss needs to address...

1. Be bold, but not impetuous

Much was made of the fearlessness of England’s youth and the early shot from Raheem Sterling that flashed into the side-netting laid down a marker.

However, too many players were tempted to follow suit, especially as the match wore on and England became frustrated by the Azzurri’s deep defence. Gianluigi Buffon may have been absent but his replacement, Paris St Germain ‘keeper Salvatore Sirigu, is no mug and he made sure when he parried, as he did often, the rebound went well away from danger.

Salvatore Sirigu makes a save Salvatore Sirigu makes a save

The Brazuca flies true, but too many of England’s shots were from unfeasible distances and taken when there were better passing options.

Better decision-making comes with maturity – Cristiano Ronaldo used to shoot whenever he could see the goal – but that takes time. For now Roy Hodgson has to find a way to temper his young guns’ impetuosity, while retaining their adventure.

 

2. Up the tempo in attack

Given the conditions in Manaus it was understandable both teams slowed the game down at times, but in the last half-hour, when Italy circled the wagons, England’s passing tempo was too slow.

They had good width, especially when Antonio Candreva’s departure enabled Leighton Baines to push on, but too often of their passing was sideways in direction and ponderous in execution.

Rooney was ponderous in attack Rooney was ponderous in attack
England constantly recycled the ball in front of the Italian lines but too rarely sought to play it in behind them. Space was tight, but quick one-touch passing, allied to good movement, could have created chances.

Not that this was unexpected. Cesare Prandelli had his tactics spot on. He must have watched England against a ten-man Honduras in Miami a week prior and thought, ‘if they cannot get break them down, they will never open us up if we draw back’. He was right.

 

3. Should Wilshere start against Uruguay?

One of the players most capable of playing the quick one-twos around the box that penetrate tight defences is Jack Wilshere and there were signs, as he drove towards the Italians on Saturday night, that his fitness is coming on.

Wilshere makes things happen in a way that Jordan Henderson does not. However, he is also more likely to concede possession and be caught upfield when opponents break. Uruguay do not, however, have an Andrea Pirlo to police.

Jordan Henderson does not offer the same in attack as Jack Wilshere Jordan Henderson does not offer the same in attack as Jack Wilshere
Indeed, their midfield was one-dimensional against Costa Rica and far more rigid than England’s. Wilshere’s inclusion is probably a risk worth taking.

 

4. How to protect the flanks?

Coaches call it the ‘short-blanket syndrome’ Just as a short blanket cannot keep both shoulders and feet warm, so few midfields possess a mix of players capable of protecting the back four and supporting the front players.

This was England’s problem on the left on Saturday night. A narrow midfield was deployed to cramp Pirlo (with limited success) but that meant space was left on the flanks, which Candreva and Matteo Darmian exploited to the full.

Less than three minutes had gone when Pirlo fed Candreva who drew Leighton Baines and fed Darmian. It was the portent of a long night for Baines who was given insufficient support by his left-sided attacker, whether it was Wayne Rooney or Danny Welbeck.

Leighton Baines Leighton Baines
However, England’s goal came after Rooney made use of the space left by a Darmian sally so there were plusses as well as minuses.

Adding another attack-minded player in Wilshere will exacerbate England’s defensive vulnerabilities, but Uruguay’s overlapping may be limited. They will be playing a stand-in right-back in place of the suspended Maxi Pereira and on the left Martin Caceres, like Giorgio Chiellini on Saturday, is by nature a centre-back.

Uruguay do have width in midfield, but unless Luis Suarez plays, which seems unlikely, their attacking movement is not as intelligent as Italy’s

 

5. Who is fresh for Uruguay? 

Barely an hour had gone when the first England player succumbed to cramp (Sterling) and several followed. This was worrying when Italy’s older side seemed largely untroubled.

Sterling was the first to succumb to cramp Sterling was the first to succumb to cramp
Hodgson will have to assess carefully how quickly his players have recovered from their Amazonian ordeal and select a starting XI accordingly. The judgement has become more complicated by Saturday’s results. England’s defeat, and Costa Rica’s victory, means key players cannot be rested from the third group game as qualification will hinge on it - unless, of course, England lose to Uruguay on Thursday, and Italy and Costa Rica draw on Friday, in which case England will be out.

 

Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
tv
Sport
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Voices
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
music
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvName confirmed for third series
Sport
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
art
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine