gazlfcforeverEngland need to adopt a whole new formation/shape starting from U21 level to the senior squad. We can't keep the ball at all. We should use Barca's example of a false 9 formation with wingers. This would allow us to retain possession in the middle of the park with 4 players in that area and width supplied by pacey wingers Walcott and Young. We have two fullbacks that are very good going forward and a ideal forward in Rooney to play as a false 9.


NorfLondenIt's not the false 9, that helps Barca keep possession. When they were playing true 9 with Eto'o, they were equally impressive.

Having said that, this formation actually might work. It will give Rooney the room to roam around.

I'd not have Walcott at the right though, he is just too inconsistent. Gaby Agbonlahor would be my pick.


mbillington10I think this formation would be perfect for games against weaker teams. I agree that Walcott is too inconsistant, so my personal choice would be to play Gerrard on the right, and Lampard to take Gerrard's position in the middle. Part of Barcelona's threat lies in the ability of the front three to interchange and play between the lines, which you wouldn't get with Walcott.

In games against high quality opposition, copying Barcelona's formation would be insufficient. You have to remember that 9 of Barcelona's players have been playing together, in that formation, for over 10 years, plus Messi's ability to keep the ball in the false 9 role is unparalelled. It is this which helps Barcelona keep possession, not just the tactical layout.

Against good opposition, two holding midfield players would be necessary, particularly if one of them is Carrick as he is not as mobile as a Busquets or Mascherano.

Adopting this formation and practicing attacking moves in training (like Barcelona do) would be a great way to improve England's performances against most opposition. Any hope of them dominating possession a la Barcelona are unrealistic though, as England do not have an equivalent to Messi, Iniesta or Xavi (although Wilshere is an amazing prospect.


ars4nalI'd give Kyle Walker a go in a friendly, Johnson always looks out of place in international football and Walker was one of the few U21 players to come out of the tournament with any credit.



Yeah of course not Barca have fantastic playmakers but outnumbering the midfield is one way to stop the other team from having the ball. We are nowhere near the ability of Barca to keep the ball but we do have a lot of good goalscoring midfielders that can cause problems running from deep.


Walcott's pace was the main reason for inclusion, his crossing isn't great at all but in this style it wouldn't be the goal to cross the ball a lot but work it into the box for midfield runners.

Maybe for strong teams we could play Gerrard on the right as you suggest, this would enable lots of runners in midfield and allow for fluid movement.


Walker is a great prospect, but Johnson has improved for Liverpool and I still think he has something to offer at international level. He is a great attacking fullback and with Ashley Cole on the other flank it would be one of our main strengths going forward.


mbillington10I think people are wrong about Johnson. The common accusation that Jonhson can't defend is simply untrue. Vladimir Lenin said "If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth", and this is exactly what the media do with Johnson's defensive capabilities. He is an attacking full back, his role is to vacate his defensive position to aid the attack, if the opposition wins the ball and counters, he is not out of position, or defensively suspect, it is the managers job to take a player from elsewhere on the pitch and provide cover.

I agree that Walker is a good prospect. In the first match against Spain he was terrific, best performance from an England player in the tournament. But against Ukraine and Czech Republic, he was predictable as they had clearly identified his ability to knock the ball past his opponent and use his strength to get past them, so he was unable to play very well. Also, he was behind Corluka, Kaboul and Hutton at Tottenham this season. In comparison, look at the managers Johnson has played under - Mourinho, Redknapp, Benitez, Capello. None of these would tolerate a defensively weak player, his ability is massively underated by the media and as a consequence the public, except the season ticket holders who watch him every week.

I think you are spot on Gazlfc, this formation would greatly improve England's playing style, no doubt. I can see your point about Walcott, his pace is a danger to any team. Although against weaker opposition who defend deep, he is less of a threat, but his movement has improved at Arsenal so it would be no problem to play him against the big teams.

My only concern with this formation is the single holding midfield player. Spain and Barcelona are very unique in being able to play with only one holding player (even Arsenal use two), their cultural style makes it possible to defend with possession in ways no other country/club can match, they can therefore risk only one holding player because they wont be subjected to counter attacks like other teams would. Most other successful countries like Holland (De Jong, van Bommel) and Germany (Khdeira, Schweinsteiger) use two holding players. With only Carrick operating between the lines, I have flashbacks of Gareth Barry being sent dizzy by Ozil, Podolski, Muller and Klose's movement between the lines. Perhaps if Lampard and Wilshere dropped alongside Carrick without the ball to form a defensive midfield three (like City do with De Jong, Barry and Yaya Toure) then England would remain defensively compact and be able to utilise possession much better.

Although, these changes are unlikely under Capello, he is married to Sacchi's Milan 442 in which one striker drops off.


nvrYou must either have a exceptionally good holding midfielder or dominate the possesion around about %70 to make a single anchor work. I guess everyone would agree that Carrick is not exceptional for a holding mid. This leaves us with the question: can we dominate the possesion?

Our midfielders tend to pass long, our winger always try to dribble past their opponents to show off their skills, even our defenders always look for the killer long ball. It's going to be quite a challange to make them play the short pass game for extended periods of time.



You hit the nail on the head, we don't have an outstanding playmaker or holding midfielder. Flooding the midfield is our only option. Carrick is good on the ball but lacks energy and the killer ball.

Our best chance is to work the ball quickly and use overlapping fullbacks and midfield runners, using Rooney as a creative force when things are tight against stronger opposition.


JimmyGuitaristI just don't understand what we're doing sometimes. I watch us play in sheer disbelief. It's all well and good saying that we don't have a Xavi or an Iniesta, but we can't string together more than 5 passes. I'm convinced that we do actually base our whole method of attacking on 'a bit of luck'. Occasionally, we might do a sort of build-up from defence, passing the ball around patiently, and I think; "Right, we have something going here."; And then what happens? Terry lugs a woeful ball up to Darren Bent. It honestly is like watching a League 2 team playing hoofball.

In response to the formation, it's good but as long as Fabio's in-charge, we will never play football. I say that, but I'm not totally convinced it's all Fabio's fault anyway. How can any manager coach his team to play the way we do?
I still want him out. We need another one of those 'fresh starts'.


ZolaI am not expecting football from England, I want results. Unless one club dominates the national team(a la Barca and Spain), we won't be able to play football anyway.


MidgeManYoung to me is over-rated. He was the best player at Aston Villa (Until Darren Bent came) but that doesn't make him a good player. I'd play Milner instead because, where he is on the bench a lot at Manchester City, he'll want to play, and he'll put in 100%. He's strong and can play anywhere in midfield. He's quite handy.


mojojojo101The England management continue to confuse me at every turn, they refuse to play players in thier best positions.

Rooney has had great success recently working off a poacher (Hernandez) and England have a quality poacher in Bent... why not exploit what he is good at instead of forcing him to play in a system which doesn't suit him.

Gerrard will never play as well from a wide position as he could if he played in the centre of the pitch, again why force players to play out of position / in strange roles.

Personally I'd prefer to play either Richards or Walker over Johnson... for me Johnson doesn't stretch the play enough, I want a full back to hug the touchline where Johnson looks to come infield and shoot all the time.

For me Carrick and Wilshire is the best partnership in midfield, they complement each other nicely both defensively and going forward.