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Martin Keown - England must find the fun factor

Published: 23 Jun 2010 - 07:31:42

Instead of focusing on matters on the pitch, John Terry's controversial press conference has dominated the build-up to England's must-win game against Slovenia.

And although I don't really agree with how he went about it, it was quite nice to see a player being completely honest with the media and the fans.

He should have spoken privately with Fabio Capello before going in-front of the cameras, but at least he let us all know that things aren't entirely rosy in the England camp.

Hopefully JT's revelations will mean the problems get sorted before we kick-off this afternoon, but for that to happen Capello might need to adjust his managerial stance.

- Chris Hatherall reports from South Africa

- Slovenia v England match centre

- Free £20 bet with Paddy Power

At the moment he is too much of a disciplinarian and that looks to be making it difficult for players to approach him and discuss their problems.

English players like a laugh and a joke, they like to feel comfortable and relaxed - not on edge like they do around Capello.

I watched the Paraguay manager Gerardo Martino with his players after they'd beaten Slovakia 2-0 a few days ago. He was talking, laughing and joking with his players and they all looked very happy to be playing at the World Cup.

Unfortunately the same can't be said for England - Wayne Rooney and co look positively frightened every time they enter a South African stadium.

For things to improve on the pitch, the environment off it needs to change.

The players must to go into the game against Slovenia relaxed, confident and with the belief that they are good enough to progress further in the tournament.

Today's opposition are a team we really should be beating comfortably.

We have far better individuals than they do, but Capello's task is to unlock the huge talent we have by playing our best players in their most natural positions.

I think he has to ditch his old-fashioned 4-4-2 formation in favour of a 4-5-1, giving us an extra player to dominate the midfield.

I would bring Joe Cole in for Emile Heskey and play him wide left, allowing Steven Gerrard to play just behind Wayne Rooney on his own.

With Gareth Barry protecting the back-four and everyone else in their favoured positions, it really does seem like the best formation and personnel to get the result we need.

The squad have to relish the pressure Wednesday will undoubtedly bring and stop worrying about coming top of the group.

Germany, Serbia and Ghana will all be hoping we get knocked-out, as an England team with direction, confidence and no behind-the-scenes problems can still go far in this competition.

MARTIN KEOWN WILL BE BLOGGING EXCLUSIVELY FOR FOOTBALL.CO.UK THROUGHOUT THE WORLD CUP

DSG


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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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