England football: What now for Roy Hodgson’s men?

Despite his injury problems, Jack Wilshere can be the key to England’s midfield future.

England’s 2014 World Cup ended in a boring draw against Costa Rica.  Roy Hodgson chose to select a mix of youth and experience, but unfortunately, Hodgson’s men failed to deliver any inspiration and played out to a 0-0 draw.

Despite the negatives of going out in the group stages, some of England’s younger talent did show areas that the squad can improve on in the future, but there are also problems that need to be addressed following this team’s failure.

Some of the younger players, such as Raheem Sterling, looked good throughout the tournament.  Sterling showed that he can definitely live up to the pressure of international play, and that he will be a big part of England’s future for a long time.  The same can be said for Ross Barkley, although he looked a little more raw in phases.

The most important part about these young players is that they have a squad built around them, particularly in 2018 at the next World Cup.  None of the offensive players played poorly, but they did lack chemistry together.  There were moments when Daniel Sturridge looked just a little off of other player’s wavelengths.  By Euro 2016 this should not be an issue because these players will have played together a lot more, if Hodgson selects them for qualifiers.  His young talent could lead to a squad that challenges for tournaments down the line, and it is important he does not resort to picking older players for the sake of “experience,” he should let younger players work into leadership roles.

Despite only scoring one goal, Sturridge has shown signs of being one of England’s best players.

One of the biggest question marks around England’s performances was Steven Gerrard.  He did not perform well in either of the games he started, and I believe it is time for him to retire, along with Frank Lampard.  Neither player offers anything that our current youngsters cannot grow into.

More importantly, they are starting to show their age.  Two mistakes from Gerrard were the reason that England lost to Uruguay.  Hodgson has said that he hopes both players continue internationally, but I do not see any reason for this.  If Hodgson wants to field a formation using two  midfielders, then he should select Jordan Henderson and Jack Wilshere together and allow them to build their chemistry together.

This year’s failure is a massive opportunity to shed some unneeded water, and give the squad a new identity before qualifiers begin.  This could be the team built around attacking youth, and this experience of failure can help spur them on at Euro 2016.

Realistically, will England win Euro 2016?  No, I do not think so.  However, I do think that they can perform a lot better and go further in the tournament than they did at this World Cup.  Hodgson should allow Gerrard and Lampard to retire and give the qualification games to younger players.

Obviously he shouldn’t drop everyone because England certainly showed inexperience in their first two games, but part of that was tactical, such as Hodgson allowing Leighton Baines to continually be exposed against Italy.  This tournament has to go down as a failure, and it will leave Hodgson with some decisions to make.  I think that Gerrard and Lampard should make it easier on him and allow a new generation to come through.