The Gerrard and Lampard situation has got everyone trying to figure out where the Liverpool man will play for England. He is considered to be the best in the world in the central midfield position but so far the two have failed together as one (Gerrard) has to ditch their natural game to work together. Can the two great players really work together?
Pundits alike are convinced the two can play together just by clinging on to the faith that two great players must be able to play together. It is true but in a 4-4-2 in the centre they will have to accept one will have to sacrifice their normal game while in a three man midfield they can play with more freedom.
The understanding in the England camp is that the Barry and Gerrard partnership won’t work as the latter is too attacking, giving Lampard the edge in the centre. The likely outcome is Gerrard will play in a more attacking role in the long term (against Kazakhstan he may play in a three man central midfield) either on the wings in an attacking three or behind the main striker. That in turn poses another problem as what would you do with Rooney who was fantastic in Croatia and is in form playing in a similar role behind Berbatov for United.
People have been saying Lampard in the centre hasn’t worked in recent years and the key to that is Rooney. Lampard is classic central midfielder who likes to link up play from the defense and break forward. Contrary to suggestions, Rooney and Lampard do not play in the same areas. Allowing Rooney to work the area behind the striker he will open up space for Lampard to run into while the number nine (probably Heskey) will allow the midfielders to play around him.
Whatever formation Capello tries out against Kazakhstan (which should be a win for England) it is likely for Capello to be the final piece of the jigsaw experiment which will be a mix of the Croatia formation and the one today. He may try a three man midfield and Rooney on the left and if it is successful build it around the formation in Zagreb.
Mental Strength and Confidence
Capello thinks the new Wembley atmosphere affects the mind set of the England players. There is added pressure and the players play with less confidence, trying to make things happen. Not playing completely relaxed can make one time their pass a fraction of a second late or make the wrong decisions.
This seemed to be the case for Theo Walcott at Arsenal who although has a very strong mentality tried desperately to make something happen resulting in the above mentioned. The goals against Croatia made such a difference to his game and the confidence gained can allow him to play the way he is doing now. Even if he does something wrong he now has the belief in himself that he can correct it next time he gets the ball. The confidence gained took him to the player Alan Hansen wrote off to the potential world beater he is now.
The international game will help Theo as it is more tactical and slower not, allowing him space but he will have the time on the ball. Walcott will develop his decision making in these tight situations which could make him a top striker or develop as a dynamic and explosive winger.