Football is not rocket science but sometimes international managers give you the impression that they think it is just that complicated.
Bill Shankly gave us the wonderful quote that “Football is a simple game, complicated by idiots,”
We are not suggesting for a second that Roy Hodgson is anything but a smart guy – his CV tells an impressive tale – but, for our money, he is definitely over thinking this entire situation with England at The World Cup.
Playing Wayne Rooney on the left was absolutely bonkers and omitting Ross Barkley is just as crazy.
If you’re good enough you are old enough and Ross Barkley is comfortably good enough to be in the first team for England.
Danny Welbeck is a hard-working player who can sometimes make things happen. But he rarely makes the difference in a tight game. We don’t think that England’s World Cup will be remembered for a moment of Welbeck magic.
But we could easily imagine Ross Barkley doing just that. So surely England have to find place for him in the eleven.
If you played him from the start in the number 10 position behind Wayne Rooney he would offer the sort of dynamism in attack AND midfield that England were lacking at times against Italy.
There was a massive hole between Gerrard and Henderson and the front four against the Italians – a problem that Barkley could definitely go some way to addressing. In fact, he’s the perfect solution.
At just 20 years of age he’s already a monstrous player who has that rare combination of technique and power in bucket loads. Ask Roberto Martinez if he would start Barkley for England and the answer wouldn’t be long in coming. Martinez has seen at first hand how Barkley can take a game to the opposition with his dribbling. How he can hit beautiful cross field passes and score equally lovely goals. How he can control games with his all round brilliance.
But Martinez would also tell you how good Barkley is without the ball. He eats up the space between him and the opposition in the blink of an eye and doesn’t give them time on the ball, therefore forcing them into mistakes. How England needed that quality against Italy.
It’s so simple and so obvious that Barkley should be in the team – a world class player sitting on the bench while the team on the pitch looks imbalanced.
The ideal scenario for soccersweep is Sturridge and Sterling as nominal wingers in a narrow 4-2-3-1. Sturridge using his pace and left foot on that flank and Sterling on the right, leaving Rooney top to profit from the service and do what he does best – scoring goals of course.
The most frustrating part is that we will probably have to wait until another unsatisfactory conclusion to a major tournament before the changes are affected.
But this front four, played in positions which suit them all is by far and away the best England team selection. But perhaps the simplicity of it all is too much for Roy to handle!
England fans: Rooney number 9, Barkley number 10, with Sturridge narrow left and Sterling on the right?