England – New leader gives hope
By David, bettingexpert.com | Edited
After the career low at Liverpool, for which one cannot really blame Hodgson, and a revival at West Bromwich Albion this does look like the perfect opportunity for the seasoned manager to prove his qualities and steer England to a decent finish. The issue with England has never been one of scarcity in quality but rather weakness of nerves. Hodgson can target that and bring results.
Probable Tactics: 4-4-2
Players To Watch: Gerrard
Current Probable Formation: Hart, Johnson, Terry, Lescott, A. Cole, Gerrard, Parker, Milner, Downing, A. Young, Welbeck
Euro 2012 Odds England
On the right are odds for the game against Ukraine.
Euro 2012 England Preview
Speak about losers… England have long been waiting for someone to give them the right direction and take them to where they have rarely been actually. The top position has for very long eluded them. Many had felt that in recent years there was the emergence of some very fine talent and all that was needed was an iron-fisted manager who could set the talented youngsters straight and push them to glory, army-style. The choice of Capello was a direct result of that belief but it turned out to work in bursts. Qualifiers have been positive but when they were asked to perform under pressure they faltered very badly at the last World Cup tournament.
Hodgson brings back the joy of the game to the England squad and in all fairness that does seem to work better for them in the long run. Some basic premises introduced by Capello should not be discarded, especially where there was increased emphasis on discipline, but there did seem there was a need for a change from the hard line professed by the intransigent Capello. Despite the inability in handling the sinking ship that was Liverpool at that point in time I do believe Hodgson can be the right man to maintain the required balance for England.
How will the team shape up? Well that is a big question at the moment. Not only because the choice is vast despite some key injuries like those of Bent and Wilshere which make them doubts, but also because there aren’t really any top class players one might consider indispensable.
After the end to their season both Lampard and Gerrard would deserve to feature. The eternal question about whether they do step on each other’s toes might be resolved by pushing the Liverpool captain to the right flank given his indubitable ability at pinpoint passing and crossing. The Chelsea midfielder would ideally be moved closer to the striker in order to take advantage of his goal scoring instinct.
Barry and Parker would provide for the muscle in the middle of the park. Both have been very consistent this season with Manchester City and Tottenham respectively. The ex-West Ham, in particular, has proven himself a valid player in a big team and was one of the applauded choices made by Hodgson’s predecessor.
On the left flank I would find it unreasonable to pass over Ashley Young. He has been very good fir United this season and is one who does perform under pressure, with an additional knack for finding the net that should never be shunned.
Alternatives to this four-man midfield would include Downing as a wide man, Milner, Adam Johnson, Rodwell and Wilshere if fit after a season on the sidelines.
When it comes to settling for a striker Rooney would be an obvious choice and can also be played more conveniently as a forward just in behind the striker. However, he will be banned for the first matches and an alternative is therefore due. Zamora may feature given Hodgson’s familiarity with his style from back when he was Fulham’s manager. Sturridge has always given his all when employed at Chelsea though and with Bent almost certainly ruled out it is Sturridge who can provide the goal instinct and opportunism which the Villa man would have guaranteed. However, Walcott, Welbeck and Frazier Campbell might fit in the picture too although I do rate them less than either Zamora or Sturridge.
A look at the back would highlight some top names – Terry, Ashley Cole and Cahill from Chelsea, Rio Ferdinand and Jones from Manchester United, Glen Johnson from Liverpool, Walker from Tottenham and Lescott from Manchester City. Getting Rio and Terry to cohabit in central defence might prove as difficult as trying to get these players to gel into one solid four-man backline after the diatribe involving racial comments the Chelsea captain directed at Rio’s brother Anton. Goalkeeper Hart and teammate Lescott do look like rightful starters though after a very good season with their club and on the left flank there are no solid alternatives to Chelsea’s Cole. Johnson and Walker will battle it out for the right-back role.
Since writing, England have been awarded the trophy for nation worst hit by injuries ahead of the tournament kick off. The newly appointed manager, in fact, has had to see drop from his squad Lampard, Cahill, Barry and goalkeeper Ruddy. Replacements for these have been, in order, Henderson and his Liverpool teammate Kelly, Jagielka and Birmingham’s goalkeeper Butland. Manchester United’s Rio Ferdinand has consistently been snubbed every time so he will, surprisingly, not be making part of the squad that travels to Poland and Ukraine.
England 2012 – More smiles
A semifinal place in 1996 is the best England could manage after the third place of 1968. That 1996 tournament was held on home turf just like the only World Cup in which they managed a place on the podium – champions in 1966. Curiously enough that third place of Euro 1968 and the only other time they went close to that triumph in 1966 in a World Cup, a fourth place in 1990, had taken place in Italy.
The English do not have territorial advantage here therefore. The very fact that they feel more comfortable performing in front of their fans usually is testament to their weak character and the tendency to buckle under pressure. Hodgson may bring in the necessary atmosphere for the players to work in a serene environment towards a good finishing position.
Euro 2012 England Players To Watch
Gerrard. Ok things did not really work out smoothly when Hodgson was in charge of Liverpool but hopefully that negative episode will not affect Hodgson’s choices. The Liverpool man is increasingly looking thirsty for victories after another season spent dropping back to the nursing room with annoying regularity.
Euro 2012 Betting England
Pressure is not what England are best known for, despite having proven otherwise time and time again on club level. What the England national team needs more of is calm spirits and on these lines the choice of Hodgson as manager should be quite a proverbial hitting of the nail on the head. Time is of the essence though and the English manager might not have much of it to build the strongest offering for this tournament.
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