As temperatures soar in Brazil, it’s absolutely imperative England utilise their entire squad for the competition. Every single player has a role to play, as it’s going to be an exhausting tournament. Don’t forget that the World Cup has more games in a short period of time compared to a standard week of English football. So both heat, and extra games will be two factors that England need to prepare for.
England have taken a good mixture of different aged players. This will help in the heat as the younger players will be fit enough to fight into the last few minutes of the game. If there will be no extra drinks breaks throughout the World Cup for the teams, it may be a very big problem indeed. Three subs might even be forced upon England, as the conditions will be very different to back at home. This will also affect the style of England’s football.
Brazillian Heat and Style of Play
Possession is key to most football games, but possession will be paramount in Brazil. By keeping the ball, the opponents are the ones that get sweating and tiring to get that ball back. The team that plays the simple passing game will be the same that suffers the least from the heat. Expect Steven Gerrard to control the speed of Englands play, sitting deep in our half and choosing when to pass forward to attack or to pass around the defence to allow the other players to regain some energy. If this tactic is employed correctly, then late on, the younger players with the pace will come on. This is where legs will be tired, but minds tired as well. The heat will allow for mistakes to happen. If the subs can stay alert and know that their opponent hasn’t got much left in the tank, then England could cause some damage. Whether this is Raheem Sterling (who could be starting) or Ross Barkley or the many other young players England have, they must make a difference.
Should Roy Hodgson start Raheem Sterling?
Let’s discount that red card that was for one, in a friendly, and two, in many fan’s eyes, not a red card, and instead talk about the quality young player that is emerging. Sterling could be England’s wildcard and he needs to be carefully deployed by Hodgson. His quick feet are a massive problem for defences. He is small, low to the ground so that he can easily turn a defender inside out before choosing a skillful finish or cross. His speed and skill alone could anger some of the defenders and cause them to enter rash challenges drawing freekicks. This would allow Frank Lampard, Gerrard, Barkley… the list goes on, to put a ball into the box for another player to finish or to even take on the goalkeeper alone with the striking ability the England squad has in it’s ranks. Sterling is a quality player who is definitely capable of starting for England. But, saving him as a substitute could prove a massive asset in the dying embers of the game. This could be the World Cup that just starts a fantastic career for the young man.
Let’s hope that England can overcome the heat to play some good football at the World Cup.
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