Following Rio Ferdinand’s exit from the England squad through injury Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard was named the Three Lions’ captain, does this further highlight the fact that we are wasting the world-class talents of the 30-year-old midfielder at an international level?
Fabio Capello has deployed Gerrard on the left side of England’s midfield quartet as many believe the Liverpool man and newly named vice-captain Frank Lampard are incompatible as the central midfield pairing. This is correct as both players like to get forward and score goals, but after Wayne Rooney they are our most potent scoring threats which is why I am always baffled that we have not persevered with a system to benefit both of them.
I believe Capello could get so much more out of Gerrard and I’m even surprised that he was overlooked as John Terry’s replacement as captain when the Chelsea man was stripped of the armband due to a non-football issue. He is a better candidate for the position than Ferdinand in my opinion. I reckon Terry’s voice will likely have remained the loudest in the back four despite Ferdinand being the captain and even though the Manchester United is a world class defender he has become a liability over the last 18 months after suffering poor form and countless injuries.
Now that Gerrard will be leading the team out onto the pitch in South Africa the England coach should reconfigure his first XI. Is it about time the team changed from the drab and predictable 442 formation to a 451, or a 433?
We have the players to do it in my opinion and as our weakest position seems to be in the centre forward role then we may as well play our only decent one (Rooney) up top alone. The Red Devils’ forward has just enjoyed the best season of his life playing as the sole striker for his club and scored 26 Premier League goals. England also have plenty of decent wingers who can play in the wide roles Aaron Lennon, James Milner, Joe Cole and Shaun Wright-Phillips…much more depth than the forward group which contains Emile Heskey.
Such a formation would benefit many of the players as it is familiar with most of them at club level and would also allow England to get the best out of forward thinking fullbacks like Ashley Cole and Glen Johnson.
Also, if England played a different formation then both Gerrard and his vice-captain could perhaps enjoy a decent centre pairing if they have a deep lying midfielder covering the back four. The only downside to this is Gareth Barry’s ankle (hopefully he recovers soon) as I do not believe Michael Carrick is good enough at the moment to excel in what is a difficult role.
Alternatively, Gerrard could be used as a supporting striker to Rooney, but I just feel he is at his best bombarding through the middle of the park.
The only other option is to bench Lampard, which is very unlikely considering the fact that he has just been named as the vice-captain. It would also be very unfair to marginalise Lampard as he probably deserves his place on merit more than any other player with the exception of Rooney after the season he has had at Chelsea during their Premier League and FA Cup double winning campaign.
In Capello we have a great manager and I am sure that now we are on the big stage he can get the best out of Gerrard, Lampard and Rooney…or at least I hope so, it seems pointless to me playing a 442 to accommodate a player like Heskey.
England are due to kick off their World Cup campaign this Saturday against the USA. What are the fans’ opinions on how to get the best out of Steven Gerrard?