PEOPLE say, ‘international players should be able to play in any position’. That is simply not the case.
If you are a central midfielder week in, week out, then you will immediately be up against it if asked to play on the left wing, against a right back who knows his job and is a master of that space.
That’s what happened with James Milner against USA, and it is truly beyond me why Fabio Capello would pick any of his players out of position.
So with everything resting on victory over Slovenia, he has to deploy everyone in their favoured roles, and I’m hoping he selects them in a 4-5-1 formation.
That should allow them to get a hold of possession – something they haven’t really managed yet in the tournament – and know what it is like to control the ball.
It should also mean Wayne Rooney playing on his own up front, freeing him to make forward runs.
When you are part of a forward two, as Rooney has been with Emile Heskey, you need to strike up a good relationship with your partner.
This should liberate Rooney from that distraction and, I believe, bring out the best in him.
I’d like to see Steven Gerrard moved back into the middle, playing just behind Rooney.
This might not have worked for England before, but they are both much more used to these roles having spent much of the season doing so for Liverpool and Manchester United.
And I’d bring back Joe Cole (left) on the left wing, and give him attacking freedom.
I’m hoping that the players were told the team last night, so that they were able to relax. As a player, I always used to like to know well in advance, so I could run through the game in my head the night before.
As the game approaches, the players will be so, so determined. There will be butterflies – that’s healthy – but there can be no room for the crippling nerves that have afflicted them so far.