This article refers to a previous game. Read the latest England v Holland news here.
Less than 5 hours to go before England kick off in Amsterdam, and would you believe it, the buildup to this match has been darker and more pressure-laden than a Chelsea vs Tottenham league game (oh, the irony…)
I know you’re all antsy for the details, so here’s what I’m going to cover in this preview:
- England Starting Lineup
- England Tactics
- What England need to do to win
Let’s get this started.
England Starting Lineup
GK – Paul Robinson
RB – Micah Richards
CB – Rio Ferdinand
CB – John Terry
LB – Ashley Cole
RM – Steven Gerrard
DM – Michael Carrick
AM – Frank Lampard
LM – Joe Cole
ST – Wayne Rooney
ST – Andrew Johnson
Bench from: Ben Foster, Jamie Carragher, Phil Neville, Kieran Richardson, SWP, Peter Crouch, Defoe
England have brought in Micah Richards as replacement for Gary Neville, and Kieran Richardson as backup after Jenas withdrew. It’s doubtful that Richardson was a like-for-like replacement for Jenas though – he will most likely be a sub / replacement for J. Cole / Gerrard on the wings.
The withdrawal of Lennon, Jenas, Dawson and King have been linked to a protest by the Tottenham players towards certain comments made by Terry towards King in the Chelsea-Tottenham Prem clash over a week back. More on this later, although to be honest I think the rumours are just BS, although they ‘could’ be true.
Neville was pulled out more as a precaution than anything else – He’s being rested for the key 26th Nov game against Chelsea.
Chris Kirkland withdrew from the squad to be with his wife, who is due to give birth soon. Charming lad.
Lennon’s withdrawal is a serious loss for England even though he would have started on the bench – his pace would have been crucial in giving England an advantage late in the second half. He has been earmarked as the long term replacement for David Beckham on the right, although with Gerrard playing there how he will eventually fit into the team, that’s anyone’s guess.
There is a possibility that McClaren could have opted to play Lennon on the right, with Joe Cole as the super-sub. This may still happen in the future if McClaren sticks with Lampard in the centre of the pitch.
With Richards and A Cole as fullbacks, England will be much more aggressive in this game, with Carrick linking up Terry and Ferdinand with the midfield three of J Cole, Gerrard and Lampard. Both J Cole and Gerrard favor cutting into the middle, which will make the midfield very congested. However, considering that Chelsea play quite well without width, it comes down to each player knowing their role and following it perfectly. Cole and Gerrard must track back and defend, as well as put in crosses from the touchline and cut in to attack the box when the opportunity arises.
Lampard and Carrick will be under the spotlight, with both players doing well for their clubs since the Croatia loss. Lampard has fans to win over, while Carrick would want to confirm his spot in England’s midfield with Parker and Hargreaves both injured.
Rooney and Johnson will start upfront, in a all-power, all-pace combination that McClaren has called similar to the Saha-Rooney partnership at United. If they are successful, and if Johnson can stay fit and keep scoring goals for Everton, these two could be reunited the next time England play. It is surely a good alternative to have for England, and if Johnson can bring out the best from Rooney that would be really, really amazing.
Expect England to be cagey and on the backfoot early on, but if Robinson holds his nerve and the back four stay calm, England should gradually take control and start attacking.
What should England do to win?
Play the way they play for their clubs – by sticking to the plan, showing some guts, attacking instead of sitting back to defend and praying that it works out.
Honestly, if the England team gives their best tonight at the Amsterdam Arena, it wouldn’t matter if they lost – they’d still be respected. We’ve been bashing them because they don’t play as well as they could. Play out of your skins for once. Marco van Basten won’t be expecting it.
Hell, we’re not expecting it.
England to win?
Oh, hopeless supporters that we are…
If you’re looking for rumours regarding Terry and Tottenham players…wait for the piece – I’ll put it up tomorrow. For now, you can read it at the Telegraph and check the vid again