Neil Ashton says the Three Lions could be exposing their lack of ball-playing ability from the back now that they are switching to a more continental system
THE Germans had Franz Beckenbauer while Holland had Ronald Koeman and Frank Rijkaard. England have John Stones.
From now on he will play sweeper, the spare man in England’s defence after Gareth Southgate confirmed a permanent switch to 3-4-3.
The system is unconventional and unorthodox, alien to English players brought up on a diet of 4-4-2.
But Southgate is set on it. He saw enough reasons in the dreadful 1-0 win over Slovenia on Thursday to ditch his four-man defence for the Lithuania trip.
The Three Lions head coach said: “Three at the back is what we ought to do. We have so little time to work with the players that the more clarity they have under pressure then they will know what to fall back on.
“In qualifying, when we played 4-2-3-1, we wanted wide players who were able to exploit the width and try to break down packed defences.
“In terms of the way we want to play from the back now it is the better option. At the moment we turn the ball over too much. It gives us good stability and easier options for our midfielders.
“It means we might be able to get two strikers on the pitch in certain games.