Hodgson finds magic formula in midfield trio

Trevor Steven
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LLAST night offered an exciting glimpse of exactly how I think Roy Hodgson wants England to play, a nervy 20 minutes aside.

The midfield was very good indeed, with some terrific link-up play and great movement between Steven Gerrard, Jack Wilshere and Tom Cleverley.

Gerrard looks very comfortable in front of the back four, while Wilshere was exceptional – it was a pleasure to see him back to his best.

That fluidity, and England’s confidence in playing short passes in the final third, helped Wayne Rooney to be more dangerous.

Theo Walcott, meanwhile, looked a different, much more mature player. His excellent club form has clearly given him belief and he no longer shrinks in an England shirt.

I’m not sure about Danny Welbeck on the left, although he does offer a goal threat coming inside when Rooney drops deep.

Brazil, it must be said, were pretty disappointing, but let’s give credit to England for working very hard and using the ball well.

Midfield aside, the main experiment was in defence, where the Gary Cahill-Chris Smalling partnership looked a touch untidy and naive, with Brazil dragging them out of position. They won’t be Hodgson’s No1 choice but will have benefited from 90 minutes against quality opposition.

Trevor Steven is a former England footballer who played at two World Cups and two European Championships. He now works as a media commentator.