England boss Roy Hodgson has claimed that his side will take risks at this summer’s World Cup in Brazil.
In truth much of the football that England has played under Hodgson has been dull.
Hodgson confirmed his intentions by telling Talksport: “The way we will play in Brazil will be a continuation of the way we have been trying to play over the last year or so.
“The introduction of many of the younger players has given us a lot of pace and given us an injection of technical ability.
“If you take the front players who played in the last game; Raheem Sterling, Daniel Sturridge, Danny Welbeck and add them to people like Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard, just to name five players off the top of my head, they have great technical ability, pace and athleticism.
“I, as a manager, don’t have any concerns about the team’s attitude and the way the team will play. We will be brave and we will believe in ourselves and we will risk defeat. We won’t try and sneak our way through the games. With the type of players we’ve got that wouldn’t suit us.
“I think we’ve got to allow the players to express themselves in the same way as you see them express themselves in the Premier League.”
Mr Hodgson is renowned for being a cautious manager. At times with England he has attempted to break out of his comfort zone and play more a more attacking style and sometimes it has worked. Other times England have looked as flat as a pancake.
It is all very well claiming that England are going to take risks, but it is up to the England boss to pick the players to play an attacking style of play.
For too long Roy Hodgson teams have been associated with cautious football. However, with this current group of players the former-Fulham and Liverpool boss has the chance to attempt to assemble a team that is capable of playing good football.
England have found themselves wanting in recent years when attempting to play possession football. However, some of the players in and around the current England squad have the ability to not only keep the ball, but pick out a pass as well.
Two players spring to mind immediately in Ross Barkley and Adam Lallana. Both players are inexperienced on the international stage, but have enjoyed stellar seasons with their clubs. The pair have the ability to pick a pass and beat a player.
At the moment though, neither player is guaranteed a place in England’s 23-man World Cup squad. If Hodgson wants to cause opposition teams problems in Brazil these are the sorts of players he needs to take a chance on.
Both players look likely to go to the World Cup and that can only be a good thing for the Three Lions attempts of enjoying a successful campaign.
Hodgson cautious football nature means that players will often be shackled by their position or responsibility on the pitch. The England boss prefers to be well organised and tough to beat than a threat to the opposition.
England have players who perform superbly week-in week-out for their club teams, but then stifles what they are good at by making the team hard to beat. For too long England national team managers have worried about the opposition, instead of giving the opposition something to worry about.
England underachieves at every major tournament because the manager is usually not brave enough to put out a team that will attack the opposition. Liverpool are a prime example of how to win games, even if it means taking risks and conceding goals.
Four Liverpool players Steven Gerrard, Jordan Henderson, Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling are in contention for the England World Cup squad because of the style of play that Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has instilled in the team.
Those who have criticised the quality of the England squad should think again. The Three Lions does have a very good crop of young players coming through the ranks, with the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ross Barkley and Luke Shaw at the forefront of that.
Then you have the likes of Jay Rodriguez and Adam Lallana, who are not as young as the players mentioned above, but have proved this season that they have immense talent.
I hope that Roy Hodgson is as good as his word and takes risks in Brazil. The proof of his approach will be in his final squad selection for the tournament. If he chooses exciting, young vibrant talents then we know he could actually be prepared to change his cautious ways.
However, if as I suspect, he plays it safe with his squad selection then the England team will not fulfil its potential and the Three Lions will be heading home from Brazil early with their tail between their legs.
England are 8/13 third favourites to qualify from group D, but if Hodgson keeps to his word then the Three Lions may just surprise some people.
Will Roy Hodgson take risks at this summer’s World Cup?