Arsenal fans were distressed to see Jack Wilshere not included in England’s starting 11 against Russia in the Three Lions opener. From my perspective it was a surprise, more because Hodgson seemed to be trying desperately to bring him on in game time and fitness and because if his key role in qualification pre-injury. Disappointingly for Jack the troublesome role of the most defensive midfield berth for England seems to have been cemented by Eric Dier. Even with an Arsenal hat on I cannot argue with the Spurs anchor man’s inclusion and he certainly justified his selection.
Many Gooners were angry at the pack seemingly being shuffled to accommodate Rooney and felt it was the captain being shoehorned into midfield that cost Jack his start. Again whilst I have sympathy with this view I was fulling expecting the United veteran to play a deeper role after his form for United I the final weeks of the season. The decision was made easier for the manager I suspect both Wilshere and indeed Henderson were well behind Rooney in a match fitness sense. Despite any misgivings some may have had, although not shared by me, Rooney did play well and certainly in the first half controlled the game. Indeed as Jack sat on the bench he could only admire his captain’s performance.
Opting for a 433 however was a trifle surprising, particularly given that Raheem Sterling had shown little in the warm up matches or indeed all season to warrant a place. Despite a few runs after 90 minute and the ultimate disappointment I was astonished the City wide man was still on the field late in the 2nd half after contributing very little and making awful decisions continuously. On the opposite flank, with the exception of his poor finishing, Lallana more than justified his inclusion. The Liverpool payers was aggressive, busy, inventive and showed far better decision making than his ex-team mate at Anfield.
So looking to the ‘big one’ tomorrow what is the online soccer betting on a few changes in the starting team against Wales? The big question marks are over Sterling, Alli and Kane for me and I suspect 2 of the three will miss out. I genuinely believe that Hodgson always had in mid to start Jack Wilshere in the UK Derby on Thursday and given how poor Sterling was I think Vardy will also come in. But who should miss out and which of his 2 formations will he play?
We have seen Hodgson play Vardy on the left of the 3, in the centre of the 3 or along another striker in a 2. I hope that for the Wales game we see Vardy where he should be which is centrally with a partner. I would love this to be Sturridge as Harry Kane look a shadow of the player he has been all season. Hodgson knows what Kane is about so to be play him in all 3 friendlies after a long campaign where he is never rested by Tottenham was foolhardy. As I say though he will persist with the Spurs front man and Vardy should play with him. Arsenal fans are still hopeful that Vardy may combine with Wilshere at club level next season. As and aside it is reported that Wenger has an alternative target if the Leicester frot man chose to remain so.
Rooney will retain his position but perhaps at the head of a diamond midfield. He made 55 passes with close to 90% completion against the Russians but critically 38 of them were in their half. Play Rooney closer to the opposition goal and yet younger legs do the lion’s share of the work.
Wilshere for his ball retention, creativity, decision making and his ability to beat a man should play on the left of the diamond. His interplay with Rose will be critical and far more natural than that shown between Rose and Sterling. Rooney and Wilshere enjoy playing together and have a good understanding. Wilshere did well when he came on the other day but it should have been to play with the captain and not to replace him.
The last call is for me the trickiest one to make. As with Kane, taking club allegiance to one side, I seriously rate Deli Alii but did he really play to his usual level on Saturday? To me he also looked a shadow of himself in the second half but it is anyone’s call between him and Lallana for the right side of the diamond. Both like Jack and easily interchange fluidly with Rooney at the point and both have the engine to work box to box. For experience and for his display Adam Lallana edges it for me and this would be my team to play Wales.
Until next time thanks for reading @goonerdave 66
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