Spot the difference

that’s right no Beckham getting in the way.

England’s 2-1 victory over Poland last night was by far the best performance they’ve produced this season and what was the difference from the previous 4 games, yup Beckham wasn’t involved.

He wasn’t there demanding that all the play ran through him, he wasn’t there getting in the way of the other midfielders, he wasn’t there getting in the way of the strikers, he wasn’t there slowing up the play with his lack of pace.

Everybody saw it, of course the talking heads on the BBC broadcast never mentioned it or his name and no doubt Sven will ignore it but it was obvious.

And with Beckham not floating round the pitch getting in their way the rest of the players knew their place and kept their shape producing a more coherent display. There were a couple of exceptions – Carragher doesn’t work at left back, found out for the Polish goal. And when Sven made his usual round of strange substitutions that resulted in position shifts for a number of players.

The other obvious conclusion to be drawn from last night was you can play either Lampard or Gerrard in the middle of a midfield 4 you can’t have both. This one game really did highlight this fact. Lampard was given the freedom he has with Chelsea by knowing that King was behind him to mop up any danger, much like he has with Makelele in club games. So he can get up the park with intent making and scoring goals – and what a cracker it was – without any hesitation.

Deadly Ledley had an excellent game, snuffing out any danger coming his way with some cracking tackles, his distribution was maybe off a bit the first few times but with confidence it became much better, though he should have scored with that shot.

All round it was a different England team against Poland than we’ve seen for some time. None of the nervous defensive play the backline playing much higher defending the edge of the centre circle rather than the edge of the 18 yard line. Rooney & Wright-Phillips running at the opposition defenders full tilt at every opportunity.

Players closing down the opposition, not letting them settle on the ball, playing at our tempo not theirs, which is the way England have to play. Yes it’ll be tougher against better teams but we did it before and these players are much fitter than those of previous eras.

The only down sides were as said Carragher at left back, good defender that he is, his lack of forward movement gave Cole few options at times and his lack of a left foot means the play stops as he moves inside or has to play it back.

Sven has to figure out it’s better to have a lesser player who is a left back playing that position, if A. Cole is out, than a bigger name right footed centreback.

The substituions were again bizarre, he never does like for like, it always involves about 3 players having to switch position that totally screws up the continuity achieved in the previous 70-75 minutes. Also the booing that started when Crouch was being introduced was out of order if it was meant for him, yeah I wasn’t happy at Wright-Phillips coming off but Crouch didn’t deserve that. Oh and why bring Jenas on at all ?

So what will Sven do now, why do I see him bringing Beckham & Gerrard back in 🙁 but maybe he’s learned, trying all the holding players – Leadley, Carrick or Parker – with either Lampard or Gerrard is what he should be doing in the games we have left till the WC starts.

I know I doubt it’ll happen.

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