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Crouching Peter, Hidden Talent

June 20th, 2006 by · No Comments · Armchair Fan, Football

Were we really seeing a world class midfield bypassed by long balls up to a ‘typical English centre forward’ with a ‘good touch for a big man’. GTBM was a phrase often trotted out for deeply uninspiring English strikers of the ilk of Paul Mariner, Mick Harford, Mark Hateley, Emily Heskey, Dion Dublin, John Fashanu, Les Ferdinand. Oh I need a sit down, and yes they all did play for England.

With Joe Cole, Gerrard, Lampard and Beckham across the middle of the park, ably assisted by Carrick, Lennon, Downing and Jenas if required, it was heartbreaking to see so many long passes out of defence and from deep on the wings. That midfield is as good as any in the competition, to by-pass them is a total waste of a competitive advantage.

The temptation with a big ‘target’ man is to use him as an easy outlet when you run out of ideas or encounter a little opposition, and I’m not talking Japan. Over and over again, in both games, possession was surrendered after a hopeful long ball failed to stick. Against better teams than the opposition, and that means Ecuador or Germany, that sloppiness will be punished.

The strikers, apart from Crouch, available to the team really couldn’t have been designed better for a fast paced attacking game, played in the deck. Rooney, Owen and the Baby Gooner are all players with pace that can run with the ball at speed. To have them standing around waiting for knock-downs is a terrible waste.


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