Last updated on April 12th, 2013 at 09:09 am
In light of last night’s loss against a half decent Italian side in Kiev, I believe the solution is quite simple. England should just copy the Barcelona team of the last few years (or any other consistently successful team like Liverpool in late 70s/early 80s) and:
– keep the ball as if their life depended on it, it doesn’t matter whether they pass it backwards, forwards or sideways, just keep it (e.g. Barcelona’s Xavi regularly has a pass completion rate of over 90% in each match); – at the same time as the team retains possession, every other player should keep moving (a lot) to find space and give options for passes; and – when the team loses possession, desperately hunt the ball down (in packs if necessary) and pressurise the opponents until it has been retrieved. England are pretty rubbish at all three of these things. Particularly the third one – Italian playmaker Andreas Pirlo was given so much space and time last night he might as well have strolled around the pitch with a cigar in one hand. However, I do admit that it would help if England were able to select a player like Messi, or even Xavi. Now give me the England job!