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Rio worried about long balls

19 Jun 2006 - 08:25:32

Rio Ferdinand has blamed an over-reliance on long balls to Peter Crouch for England's poor displays in the World Cup.

England took maximum points from their Group B games against Paraguay and Trinidad & Tobago, but were widely criticised for their style of play.

Ferdinand accepts that some of the condemnation was justified and admitted the team needs to add some variety to their build-up play.

"We've probably played more (long balls) than we should in the two games - but I wouldn't say we are a long-ball team," he told BBC1.

"The balls have been aimed in the right direction to the right people.

"There's a method to our play - to get it to Crouchy - but we went over the top in the last game.

"You see Peter there and think 'hit him' because he can be an easy option."

The Manchester United defender was keen to point out that his words were not a criticism of Crouch, who scored the vital first goal in the 2-0 win against Trinidad & Tobago.

He added: "He dealt with a cross into the box and got us the goal we needed. If we mix it up it can be beneficial."


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