Gary Cahill says he is not sure if Roy Hodgson knows his best England team after sweeping changes were made for a frustrating 0-0 draw with Slovakia at Euro 2016.
There were six alterations from the side that came from behind to beat Wales 2-1 in Lens, including captain Wayne Rooney being named among the substitutes in Saint-Etienne.
England controlled the game at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard but could not break down a stubborn Slovakia defence, forcing them to settle for second place in Group B behind Gareth Bale and his team-mates.
They will now face the runner-up in Group F; one of Hungary, Iceland, Portugal and Austria.
While the desire to afford some players a rest ahead of the knockout stages is understandable, some observers have questioned the wisdom of shaking up the line-up to that extent.
Asked after the game if Hodgson knows his best team, Cahill said: “You’ll have to ask him, I don’t know.”
The captain on the night added: “I think tonight the changes [were] probably brought on from [a need for] freshness but also the confidence he has in the team and the confidence we have that he can make the changes without altering the performance.
“And I think [judging] by our dominance in the game it didn’t affect that. We didn’t get our goal tonight. If we did it would be a different story.”
Cahill also revealed he is keen for one of England’s next opponents to take some initiative, perhaps finally affording the team’s forwards much-needed space in which to operate.
“Credit to them, they worked very hard,” he said of Slovakia.
“You almost want someone to come and play against you a bit more. They brought on a sub to sit in front of the back four, it showed we’re doing something right.”
England are not in action now until Monday in Nice, with Cahill looking forward to an opportunity to recover from the apparent hip issue that forced him to seek treatment in the first half.
“I think it’ll be good for me to shake it off,” he said of the days ahead.
“The week could be good, it freshens everyone up, [they can] shake off little niggles. The tournament has been intense, played at a great pace.”
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