Failing to play to our strengths

It only took 10 minutes at the Donbass Stadium to realise that not a lot is likely to change under Roy Hodgson and England will continue to flatter to deceive at this level, as the country once again fail to play to their strengths. Once again we have an English manager who sets his team up to quell the opposition, rather than having a go to win the game of football.

Unfortunately it appears to have become something an epidemic among England managers, who refuse to set out the team to play the high tempo football that most of the squad are accustomed to on a weekly basis. It is replaced with a slow methodical approach that is alien to most of the squad and only serves to expose the technical shortcomings of the players. Why do we feel the need to play the opposition and change our core values at this level? Are we not better off taking the game to them?

I know many of you may lambast me for being short-sighted and not moving with the times, but I just don’t think our players are technically good enough to play the big national sides at their own game. The failure of our top English players to play abroad has meant that none of the squad is well versed in style and technical skill of these nations and therefore has little understanding of how to implement it on the pitch. We look lost out on the pitch, with no player looking comfortable in possession of the ball.

It is just so counterproductive and I am really surprised that Hodgson (with all his experience) hasn’t cottoned on to all of this. You only had to look at Joe Hart yesterday, who every time he picked up a ball was running with it in his box to launch a throw up field to the wings, only to find that nobody was available to receive it. We are once again as a nation playing players out of their comfort zone and therefore it is little wonder as to why the likes of Steven Gerrard fail to replicate their club form on the international stage. The squad is being stifled in every aspect of their normal game and subsequently fail to hurt the opposition at any time.

I don’t think I’ll ever understand the thinking or logic of the England managers that persist in attempting to play the opposition at their own game. Glenn Hoddle was the last manager who was prepared to have a go and it would have undoubtedly taken England to the desired level had it not been for his rather warped beliefs away from the pitch. Hodgson is towing the same party line that Eriksson, McClaren and Capello did in ripping the squad of their normal game and attempting to change their style and footballing ways for the sake of the national team. One day we will find a manager that won’t be so short-sighted and actually look to utilise the natural abilities of the players that we have got in this country.