England’s performance was encouraging, Gareth Southgate’s meritocracy could pay dividends
It was a good performance from England against Germany; it was a level above what we expect from this England. However, we must remember that this was an under-strength Germany side.
Furthermore, the last two good performances we put in against them – in 2001 and 2016 – came to nothing as they outperformed us at the major tournament that immediately followed. We came from two-goals down to beat them in Berlin last year but were then pathetic at the Euros, while they got to the final of the World Cup in 2002 after the 5-1 thrashing.
Gareth Southgate said England should have won but, truth be told, it was all about the performance and England performed well in an unusual formation.
However, can they put in these sorts of performances together when it matters? At major tournaments? It has to be said that they have struggled in recent years. They always fail.
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Adam Lallana was England’s best player (again)
Adam Lallana put in another fine performance for England; he has developed into one of the national team’s best and more consistent players. He is making that number 10 position his own. He has taken his club form into an England shirt and, let’s be honest, that is rare.
Southgate will have to be brave to continue with 3-5-2
It is all well and good trying out a new – and unusual formation – in a friendly game against a weakened Germany. However, it is a different scenario altogether when it is a competitive qualifier. English players are coached from a very young age to play in a four at the back so it is a risk to move away from that. That was evident in the performance as England operated with a rigid three at the back – it was not as fluid as the way in which Chelsea play. They have players – like David Luiz – who are more suited to playing that system. The wingbacks were superb, mind. The formation suits both Kyle Walker and Ryan Bertrand.
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Michael Keane did everything that was asked of him
He was rarely tested to be fair but that in itself is a measure of the quality of his performance. He did not look out of place at this level but it is now about how he follows that performance up. His next international will be telling.
He has done enough for me to get the nod for the World Cup qualifier against Lithuania. We have a distinct lack of depth at centre-half at the moment. Gary Cahill and John Stones appear to be Southgate’s favoured duo but Keane is a defender first and foremost and for me that gives him the edge over Stones. Cahill was stand in captain yesterday so he is not going to be dropped. Stones is a very elegant footballer but he makes too many mistakes. Week in, week out, Keane does his job properly.
Read the full article on eurosport.co.uk: Parker: Southgate’s meritocracy could pay dividends; England need to root out chanting