Martin Keown - Upson and Barry must face Algeria
Published: 17 Jun 2010 - 09:42:58
Five days on and everyone seems to have finally calmed down after England's disappointing 1-1 draw with the United States last Saturday.
Obviously it wasn't the result we had all been hoping for but there were some positives to take out of the performance.
England started very well, particularly during the first 15 minutes, with Steven Gerrard looking much more comfortable playing through the middle than being stuck out wide.
But after going ahead we started to look more exposed, particularly in the centre of midfield. Frank Lampard is not a natural holding player but that is the role he was forced to play with Gerrard continuously bombing on to support the two strikers.
Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey both managed to find space in-front of the back-four on a number of occasions, with Dempsey scoring and Donovan coming close.
Emile Heskey did well up-front but he needs to be dropped so that Gareth Barry can return to protect John Terry and co. Barry has become an integral part of the England side under Fabio Capello and he needs to get games under his belt before we come up against a team of real quality in the knockout stages.
Another player I'd like to come into the team to face Algeria would be Matthew Upson.
I wasn't convinced by Jamie Carragher when he came on in place of the injured Ledley King on Saturday evening. His lack of pace makes the defence look vulnerable at times, as we saw when Jozy Altidore almost put the US in-front in Rustenburg.
The other option is Michael Dawson, who had a fine season for Tottenham but is just too inexperienced at international level to be thrown into such an important game.
Upson has a bit more pace than Carragher and although he didn't have the greatest season with West Ham, he played well alongside Terry during the World Cup qualifying campaign.
The other selection headache facing Capello is whether to stick with Rob Green in goal.
My initial reaction was that he should be dropped for Friday's game as the pressure could be far too much for him to deal with. But I get the feeling Fabio will keep faith with him as he proved in the second half that he is a top 'keeper on his day.
I'd like to see us play 4-5-1 tomorrow but I'm sure we’ll stick to 4-4-2 with Barry replacing James Milner and Gerrard moving out wide.
Even if we win the game, the group could still be decided on goal difference, so scoring a few would be a huge boost to the team's fragile confidence.
Whatever team and formation Capello decides upon, tomorrow is the definition of a 'must-win game'.
MARTIN KEOWN WILL BE BLOGGING EXCLUSIVELY FOR FOOTBALL.CO.UK DURING THE WORLD CUP
- FOOTBALL.CO.UK BLOGGER:Martin Keown
- Ex-England defender and Arsenal legend Martin Keown went to two World Cups as a player, so he knows what it takes to get the Edge against the best teams in the world. He'll be giving us expert insights and opinion from South Africa throughout the tournament at http://www.facebook.com/lucozadesportfootball.
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