Robinson 'saddened' by criticisms

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The Independent Online

The England goalkeeper Paul Robinson said he feels "saddened" by the reaction to his part in Gary Neville's own goal during the 2-0 defeat against Croatia in their midweek European Championship qualifier.

With England trailing 1-0 in Zagreb, Neville's back-pass bobbled over the Tottenham player's foot just as he was about to clear the ball and resulted in numerous headlines pointing out his error.

"I have come in for a lot of criticism. I look at the incident and it was just a ridiculous fluke," he said yesterday. "For it to be reported as a mistake, as my fault ... I can't see what I did that wrong. Goalkeepers make mistakes and I've made mistakes as well that have cost goals but nothing like that has ever happened to me before.

"To be treated the way I have been saddens me. I'm very disappointed with the way it's been reported. I was not expecting to wake up to the barrage of abuse I received."

Les Reed, meanwhile, a former Football Association technical director, has described England's tactics in Wednesday's defeat as "outmoded".

Reed acted as the FA's technical director for two years, before taking up a post with the Irish Football Association for a short spell - which incorporated Northern Ireland's shock win over England in 2005. Now assistant head coach at Charlton Athletic, Reed does not believe the 3-5-2 system can prosper in the modern international game.

"Looking around the international scene, it has to be said England were disappointing," he wrote in his blog on the Charlton website. "I have never had great faith in the 3-5-2 system, ever since the modern game demanded more in terms of pace and fitness.

"Wing-backs have too much ground to cover, and this is always expensive in terms of lasting the game - not getting forward enough to be effective or being caught forward out of position and exposing the back four.

"Very few teams at the highest levels of club and international football now employ this system.

"It has been outmoded for so long in most clubs that the players asked to play it for England are probably too young to have had much or any experience of it. A 4-3-3 or 4-5-1 exploding to 4-3-3 in attack is by far the most popular and successful international formation in modern football."

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