Roy Hodgson has the best excuse in the world for any failures in the tournament; does it mean there was nothing more he could do?
(a) Tactical flaws: To ask Parker and Gerrard, both in their 30s, to perform consistently in the central midfield of the 4-4-2 is demanding with consecutive matches within 3 days. Coming to the tournament to play defensive football, the very last thing the British expect is probably leave their fate to penalties. Unfortunately, this was Hodgson’s plan. In fact, the best game they had played in the tournament was the 2nd half vs Sweden when they were 1-2 down, because they let their football flow, and they attacked.
(b) Squad selection: The only natural central midfielder to cover for Parker is Jordan Henderson; With Gary Cahill injured, all we saw was Lescott and Terry clearing the ball into row Z every game. Where isRio? The reason why England failed to keep possession is because they never played their way out of defence (Keep Calm and Carry on, eh?)
(c) Stubbornness: Public has been discussing about how poor Ashley Young had been in the tournament. In truth, he did his defensive duties duly but was only as poor as Carroll and Rooney in creating chances. If he was that poor, why weren’t Chamberlain or Downing given more opportunities? Was Phil Jones’ energy and Jagielka’s solidity ever utilised? Did they think of Leighton Baines when the game was heading towards penalties? There is a reason why they allow you to pick 23 players.
Roy Hodgson may just have two months since he accepted his proudest job in his career but a manager with such vast experience, if not ability, should and could have done much better if he is to win the hearts and hope of England again after a long reign of disappointment on national level. Despite exiting the tournament ‘unbeaten in normal time’, uncertainty lies ahead with just two years left before the World Cup.
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