An England team playing with a back three? What kind of England manager would try something as foolish as that?
Zapsportz team leader Glenn Hoddle applauds Gareth Southgate for having the vision for doing what he did as England boss…
In his Mail on Sunday column ahead of the England-Lithuania game, Glenn said: “It won’t surprise anyone to see that I was delighted to see Gareth Southgate use a system which he played in for me when I was England manager.
“And, though England lost against Germany, I was encouraged by the application of their players and the flexibility of the tactics.
“It’s a formation I’ve always favoured, even when it went out of fashion, though now, with Antonio Conte doing so well with Chelsea, it is back in vogue. It helps that your most senior defender Gary Cahill is comfortable with it.
“And that John Stones is the kind of defender who could thrive in it. And when you have wing-backs of the quality of Danny Rose, Kyle Walker and Ryan Bertrand, it makes perfect sense to use them in that role.
“I was talking to Ian Wright about it on Wednesday, because he played for me in that system. We had a couple of great games that people remember. There was the 0-0 draw in Rome against Italy in 1997 which secured our qualification for the World Cup.
“And then the 2-2 draw against Argentina in the last 16 of the 1998 World Cup, where we played most of the game with 10 men and only lost on penalties.
“With wing-backs like Kyle Walker in the squad England can benefit from a flexible back three
“The back three also allows you to play either two No 10s behind the striker, as Gareth did on Wednesday, or one No 10 behind two up-front. I would be tempted to go with two up-front on Sunday. I’ve often said that centre-halves have it too easy these days. Often they are only really facing one striker. Two strikers presents them with a different problem, one which not many aren’t used to dealing with.”