ENG­LAND

Daily Mail - - World Cup 2018 -

THE BOSS GARETH SOUTH­GATE

When I went to World Cups with Gareth, he was like a sponge — soak­ing up all the in­for­ma­tion he could. Now, he is in the po­si­tion to put ev­ery­thing he has learned into prac­tice. In the first half against Nige­ria, Eng­land al­ways seemed to have op­tions on the ball. They could not han­dle our pack of four for­wards — Harry Kane and Ra­heem Ster­ling up front with Dele Alli and Jesse Lingard join­ing at­tacks from mid­field. The big ques­tion now is how quickly can we adapt tac­ti­cally? When Nige­ria copied our sys­tem in the sec­ond half, it seemed to up­set us. Eng­land’s op­po­nents will try to do the same so it is good they have had that ex­pe­ri­ence in a friendly.

THE STAR RA­HEEM STER­LING

The Manch­ester City for­ward’s devel­op­ment has been re­mark­able. It is not just his pace that is im­pres­sive but his in­tel­li­gence of move­ment. He knows when to drop deep and help build at­tacks and when to run be­yond and add num­bers in the fi­nal third.

THE PROSPECT TRENT ALEXAN­DER-ARNOLD

What a sea­son he has had. Aged just 19, he is head­ing to the World Cup af­ter play­ing in a Euro­pean Cup fi­nal. Alexan­der-Arnold (left) is com­pet­ing with Kieran Trippier to start at right wing-back but Gareth should not be afraid to play him. Eng­land took Luke Shaw in 2014 to give him ex­pe­ri­ence. The best ex­pe­ri­ence is to play.

KEY STRENGTH

The part­ner­ship of Alli (right) and Lingard in mid­field. They are like grey­hounds in the way they cover so much ground. They flood the box when Eng­land are at­tack­ing and give their op­po­nents no space when they have the ball.

BIG­GEST WEAK­NESS

We lack a quar­ter­back to play those killer passes in mid­field. Jor­dan Henderson of­fers more go­ing for­ward and, while Eric Dier gives you more de­fen­sively, I would like to see him play with more ur­gency.

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