Anorak News | Breaking Cover

Breaking Cover

by | 5th, June 2003

‘ENGLAND’S 2-1 friendly win against Serbia & Montenegro will have achieved little except add three unlikely names to the list of people who have captained England.

Rooney must start against Slovakia

Still, a win is always better than a defeat – even in these pointless matches – and England should be looking forward to next week’s Slovakia game with some confidence.

With David Beckham missing, it seems likely that Sven Goran Eriksson will start with Steven Gerrard on the right and Phil Neville doing a holding job in midfield.

In fact, the team at the Riverside is likely to bear a close resemblance to the one that started the game at the Walkers Stadium on Tuesday night.

Wayne Rooney must surely start ahead of Emile Heskey; Joe Cole will fight it out with his former team-mate Frank Lampard for the left midfield spot; and John Terry could be preferred to Matthew Upson in defence.

But whatever line-up Eriksson chooses, it should be enough to secure the necessary three points against a side who have a difficult home match against Turkey to contend with this weekend.

Not that Slovakia are mugs – they won 2-0 in Macedonia against a side that held England to a 2-2 draw in Southampton.

But England, as they showed against Turkey, are a good side when they get into their stride.

The worry, however, is that with so many injuries and suspensions, the side that does turn out next week will not have time to get into its stride.

For all that’s said about England having a great crop of young players coming through, the truth seems to be that they are all competing for the same positions.

England are already blessed with three quarters of a world-class midfield with Paul Scholes, Steven Gerrard and David Beckham.

In Owen Hargreaves, Joe Cole, Jermain Jenas, Frank Lampard, Phil Neville and Nicky Butt etc., they have no shortage of understudies.

But is the cover so good in other positions? Is Danny Mills really the second best right-back in England – and is Jamie Carragher the third?

Was Emile Heskey, until the emergence of Wayne Rooney, the best person to partner Michael Owen up front?

Is there no better keeper in England than David James?

And in the absence of Rio Ferdinand and Sol Campbell, should we really not have anyone with a bit more experience than Matthew Upson and John Terry?

England’s first team may be a decent outfit, but where is the strength in depth?

Posted: 5th, June 2003 | In: Back pages Comment | TrackBack | Permalink