Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Odd Couple

Do you know what? I think England may be heading back to a Frank Lampard-Steven Gerrard central midfield. And I, for one, would take my chances with that.

It's a fine state of affairs when the nation is awaiting a medical bulletin on Gareth Barry's ankle as anxiously as it might news of a royal baby. He appears to be the last surviving English holding player in captivity, (and, worse still, I'm not even sure he is a holding player!).

Unless Esteban Cambiasso's English grandfather suddenly makes himself known, we are looking for a different solution. And it may just be the original one.

Now, I know some of you will think this is like asking Macca and Heather to give it another go, but the difference in Gerrard's body language when he was released into central midfield against Mexico lifted the whole conviction level of the team. It's where both he and Lampard want to be, and I believe they would be happy to try again. Happy players can put a smile on everyone's face.

As with that other uneasy national coalition, compromises and cuts will have to be made. The Roo may have to busy himself around the opponents' own anchor man, the full-backs must take it in turns to advance and both may need wide men who are more 'Milner' than 'Lennon' in front of them.

Our strongest suit is not the manager, it is the quality of a group of experienced players who've been highly successful at the top of the club game - with and against the best players around.

A World Cup should hold no fears for them, yet they looked as nervous as public sector workers against Mexico. We've got to play smart in South Africa, but we've also got to give it a go. No regrets.

Fabio Capello seems set on 4-4-2. I'd like to have seen alternatives tried, but we are getting a bit close to curtain up for experiments now. It's a familiar formation that calls for familiar faces - it may be time to watch a rerun of the Odd Couple again .

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