Sam Wallace Q&A: Should England go with experience or youth? Was Antonio Valencia reaction justified? Can England win the World Cup?

Readers have been tweeting their questions to The Independent's chief football correspondent

Following England's latest warm-up match for the World Cup against Ecuador, we've been putting your questions to Sam Wallace.

The Independent's chief football correspondent, who is based in Miami with the England camp, responds below...

I would rather Gerrard play centre-back and be covered in midfield, than see Chris Smalling start, thoughts? #AskWallace

I don’t see Gerrard at centre-half, even in the autumn of his career. I like the role he performs at Liverpool when they have the ball in attack and he drops in between the two centre-halves to allow the full-backs to push on. Playing him specifically as a defender, though, would mean you lose his drive going forward. That drive is not as potent as it used to be but it is still very useful. Also, don’t underestimate the experience necessary to play a specialist position like centre-half at the top level. It would be asking a lot of him to switch.

Should Roy Hodgson opt for experience in the older players or flair and talent in the younger players? #AskWallace

That’s a very broad question. Against Ecuador we saw what Ross Barkley and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain bring to the party. They put opposition on the back foot with their running and they have the element of surprise. No matter how meticulous the scouting, they are still relatively an unknown package to opposition sides – although in the ultra-prepared world of modern football that is less and less the case.

I don’t think you can simply say ‘Play the youngsters’. Clearly, England need the likes of Gary Cahill, Glen Johnson, Steven Gerrard, Leighton Baines and Wayne Rooney. But Raheem Sterling, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Barkley are all major contenders to play

#AskWallace Does Valencia's reaction become slightly understandable considering his horrific leg break a few years ago?

I was surprised at his reaction because he is so laid back usually. It was a bad tackle but not quite a red in my book. The referee saw his chance to make a big decision and took it. He should have paid more attention to the context of the game. I have noticed an over-zealous aspect to US referees when I have come here with clubs on pre-season tours.

I thought Sterling did well not to react to the hand in his face. He has got a decent temperament for one so young, although, yes, the tackle was silly.


#AskWallace Does the game prove that Barkley, Wilshere and Lampard should be the midfielders? Better performance than Gerrard and Henderson.

First of all, you’ve suggested that three replace two. What do you mean? My belief is that Gerrard will naturally start against Italy on 14 June but it will be with either Jack Wilshere or Jordan Henderson in a 4-2-3-1 system. I don’t think you’d change that on the basis of one game. Barkley, Sterling and Oxlade-Chamberlain (if fit) will all be in contention to start.

The big question! Where do you think England will finish?

They are placed 11 in the world, in the Fifa rankings. For all the stick those rankings are given, I think they are a pretty decent guide. That would say to me that the quarter-finals would be a good outcome for England. If they do get there then I think the quality of opposition will be too high to go further. I believe they will get out the group and the draw should be relatively kind to them in the last 16. So I am sticking my neck out and saying they will make the quarter-finals. But then much depends on injuries between now and then.

#AskWallace Any idea why no defensive midfielders have been picked in the squad?

I wouldn’t say that. Gerrard is now regarded as a defensive midfielder since his conversion to that position under Brendan Rodgers. Henderson is definitely a holding midfielder. Frank Lampard does that job for Chelsea now. I am not sure who else you had in mind. It’s a pity that Owen Hargreaves had such bad luck with his knee surgery. He’s only 33. If he was fit he would be in this squad. He is still the best we have had in that role in modern times.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and David Cameron appeal to the audience during the Question Time special
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living