World Cup 2014: Roy Hodgson 'got it wrong', says Gary Lineker on England tactics
The former England striker has given another frank assessment of Roy Hodgson's side
Sunday 22 June 2014
Gary Lineker thinks England manager Roy Hodgson got his tactics completely wrong at the World Cup.
In a frank assessment of England's "humiliating" exit, the former striker also criticised Steven Gerrard for a supposed lack of organisation in the 2-1 defeat to Italy.
Hodgson may have received the backing of the Football Association despite England's fastest ever World Cup finals exit, but the criticism of the 66-year-old continues from outside the camp.
Lineker said he "admired" the way Hodgson blooded some young players in Brazil, but the 80-cap striker hit out at Hodgson over his tactics.
"Personally, I think Roy got it wrong," Lineker told Blahzil.com. "The system that suits this kind of England better, with the lack of experience in it, is probably a 4-3-3.
"He tried to just play with two players in the centre of midfield. In the first game I thought it was better because he had (Raheem) Sterling behind (Daniel) Sturridge, and that gave us three because Sterling is more of a natural midfield player, certainly than (Wayne) Rooney. But I just think it is too big an ask for just two central midfield players and once again we were outnumbered.
"The problem with this 4-2-3-1 is that it very quickly becomes a 4-4-2 or at least a 4-4-1-1 and we end up with flat lines and people getting between us. I think we would have been better - and I said this before the tournament - with three midfield players because you've got to give yourself a chance defensively."
Lineker described England's early exit as a "humiliation".
That would not have been the case if captain Gerrard was a better organiser of his players, according to Lineker.
"Steven Gerrard, wonderful player that he is, has always been an individual in many ways," the former Tottenham striker said.
"He's not really a player that can organise or spot problems. He didn't spot the danger on England's left side in the first game, which was pretty obvious after a few attempts.
"We don't have the players who can spot something and deal with it. In my era we had Terry Butcher, Ray Wilkins and Bryan Robson - players who could spot problems on the pitch and that is something that is missing from this crop."
Referring to Gerrard's accidental flick-on that led to Uruguay's winner in Sao Paulo, Lineker added: "It was a schoolboy error that saw England finally go home with that dreadful second goal for Luis Suarez."
Luis Suarez consoles Steven Gerrard after England’s defeat against Uruguay
Lineker also said the "old guard" in the squad - presumably meaning Gerrard and Frank Lampard - are "past their best".
And the 53-year-old also hit out at England's defence for not doing enough to stop Italy and Uruguay.
"Defensively we were not good enough," he said.
"It was always the fear before the tournament that we were lightweight at the back with little depth, neither of the full-backs were defensively-minded full-backs."
Lineker said the only positive thing to come out of the tournament was that the youngsters in the squad had gained some valuable tournament experience.
"You admire him (Hodgson) in many ways for giving youngsters a chance," England's second-highest goalscorer said.
"I applaud the fact that he had a go and that's what we all asked for wasn't it, that he played faster, positive football, so we can't complain too much."
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