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[Football] England: 3421?



Garry Nelson's Left Foot

Well-known member
Jul 7, 2003
13,324
tokyo
I only saw the last 20 minutes of the game against Serbia so this isn't a critique of the overall performance but what I saw was what I've seen a lot of over the years. Namely, an inability to retain the ball in midfield and reassert any kind of control on the game when under pressure.


Currently we've got two world class players capable of playing number 10 but we have to shunt one out to the left. We then have the debate about one pivot or two to protect the back four. If we playwith one then we can play with two 10s but the defence us left exposed. If we play with two, foden gets shunted out to the left.

So what I'm thinking is why don't we play with both options - two pivots and two 10s.


If we played 3421 we could have walker, stones and one other, maybe shaw for balance as the back 3. Rice and gallagher/mainoo/Wharton as the two in front, TAA as right wing back which is where he is most influential on the ball, Saka left wing back and it would allow foden and Bellingham to both play as 10s.


It would also give us four players in the centre of the pitch which should helpfully enable us to keep the ball better and keep or regain control.

We don't have to start with it but could it be an option to switch to mid game?

I think we have the players to play it.

It's a long shot I know but could we keep any debate on whether it would work or not rather than insulting Southgate.

Could this England team play 3421 and would it be effective?
 




Half Time Pies

Well-known member
Sep 7, 2003
1,438
Brighton
I think this is being overcomplicated due to Southgate's negative mindset, I cant see any reason why we cant have Rice as our sole defensive midfielder with Bellingham alongside him. Rice just needs to sit deep to protect the back four and allow Bellingham to get forward, you then have Foden as the number 10 and 2 natural wingers. I am not a big fan of playing anyone out of position when it comes to England, it always tends to go wrong as the team don't have enough time playing together.
 


Garry Nelson's Left Foot

Well-known member
Jul 7, 2003
13,324
tokyo
I think this is being overcomplicated due to Southgate's negative mindset, I cant see any reason why we cant have Rice as our sole defensive midfielder with Bellingham alongside him. Rice just needs to sit deep to protect the back four and allow Bellingham to get forward, you then have Foden as the number 10 and 2 natural wingers. I am not a big fan of playing anyone out of position when it comes to England, it always tends to go wrong as the team don't have enough time playing together.
I don't think anyone would be playing out of position if we switched mid game to 3421, especially if it were done with a sub or two. From last night's starting 11, bring on shaw for tripier , gallagher for saka and then you'd have:

Walker/stones/guehi
TAA/gallagher/rice/shaw
Bellingham/Foden
Kane

It's not necessarily a case of starting 3421. We can start 4231. It seems we were excellent playing 4231 for 30 minutes yesterday but then got worked out and played the last hour struggling for control. Switching at half time to 3421 would give the opposition an entirely new problem to solve and would give us a much stronger presence in central midfield.

In my head it would work pretty well with the players we have. I'm wondering if there is a reason why it wouldn't, for example are Bellingham and foden unable to play together a la gerrard/lampard.
 




Guinness Boy

Tofu eating wokerati
Helpful Moderator
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Jul 23, 2003
35,589
Up and Coming Sunny Portslade
All the while you have Pickford booting the ball back to the opposition, it’s going to be hard to retain possession.
While I agree, the issue in midfield is that we played TAA there and he’s positionally inept. Thus Bellingham was having to track back.

But, yeah, hoof it all the time and it’s no wonder Kane and Foden were so quiet.
 




wehatepalace

Limbs
NSC Patron
Apr 27, 2004
7,307
Pease Pottage
We looked too slow and uncreative, Pickford lumping it upfront to Kane who had a Serb sitting on his back the entire game didn’t do us any favours.

Trippier gave us absolutely nothing going forward either.

Hopefully we’ll grow into the tournament but, on last nights showing we lack the world class cutting edge to win it.
 


Half Time Pies

Well-known member
Sep 7, 2003
1,438
Brighton
I don't think anyone would be playing out of position if we switched mid game to 3421, especially if it were done with a sub or two. From last night's starting 11, bring on shaw for tripier , gallagher for saka and then you'd have:

Walker/stones/guehi
TAA/gallagher/rice/shaw
Bellingham/Foden
Kane

It's not necessarily a case of starting 3421. We can start 4231. It seems we were excellent playing 4231 for 30 minutes yesterday but then got worked out and played the last hour struggling for control. Switching at half time to 3421 would give the opposition an entirely new problem to solve and would give us a much stronger presence in central midfield.

In my head it would work pretty well with the players we have. I'm wondering if there is a reason why it wouldn't, for example are Bellingham and foden unable to play together a la gerrard/lampard.
Why do we need 5 defenders + gallagher and rice? Once shaw is back the defence is fine as it is.

To be honest I would like to see Southgate make more bold substitutions, rather than bringing on more defensively minded players to shore things up he should be trying to push for more goals.

If a team that includes Bellingham, Foden, Rice, Saka and Kane can't retain position then there is something seriously wrong.
 


Garry Nelson's Left Foot

Well-known member
Jul 7, 2003
13,324
tokyo
Why do we need 5 defenders + gallagher and rice? Once shaw is back the defence is fine as it is.

To be honest I would like to see Southgate make more bold substitutions, rather than bringing on more defensively minded players to shore things up he should be trying to push for more goals.

If a team that includes Bellingham, Foden, Rice, Saka and Kane can't retain position then there is something seriously wrong.
The wing backs aren't really defenders, hence they're part of the line of 4. Potter used to play it with trossard and March as the wing backs. England could do it with TAA and Saka.

As for the need of rice and gallagher/mainoo/Wharton that gives us greater control of midfield. Something we didn't have yesterday and is the same issue we've had for years. I wouldn't necessarily play gallagher there, I think mainoo and Wharton could both do a good job in the position.

You say you want more bold attacking substitutions, I think going to 3421 is an attacking formation. It's basically 343 but with two 10s rather than wingers, the width being provided by TAA and Saka.
 




HH Brighton

Well-known member
Jul 25, 2003
1,531
We've been poor before but I don't remember Pickford lumping upfield aimlessly quite as much as he did second half. He must have been told to it but not sure why, Kane wasn't getting much out of the centre back all game.
 


Uncle C

Well-known member
Jul 6, 2004
11,701
Bishops Stortford
We lacked balance. On the right Saka was tearing them apart. On the left Trippier never took on his full back despite the ball being fed to him in space - receive it, stop and pass it backwards. If Southgate didn't see it, thats not good.
 


heathgate

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Apr 13, 2015
3,671
Southgate simply has no ability to make meaningful in-game changes... he has a world class pool of players, he should be tweaking to nullify changes that the opposition make... last night a classic example of his ineptitude....

Trippier, v poor
Foden, should have been subbed at half time.
Saka, was invisible after half time.

I have no hopes of GS changing anytime soon, so I expect us to go out of the tournament as soon as we face any of the top half a dozen teams.
 




brighton_tom

Well-known member
Jul 23, 2008
5,203
I think this is being overcomplicated due to Southgate's negative mindset, I cant see any reason why we cant have Rice as our sole defensive midfielder with Bellingham alongside him. Rice just needs to sit deep to protect the back four and allow Bellingham to get forward, you then have Foden as the number 10 and 2 natural wingers. I am not a big fan of playing anyone out of position when it comes to England, it always tends to go wrong as the team don't have enough time playing together.
This is exactly what I would go for. 4-2-3-1. Rice and Bellingham form the 2, Foden ahead of them, 2 natural wingers, and Kane up top. That means the only player slightly out of position is Bellingham as maybe he's a bit deeper than usual, but if Rice remains the anchor and you give Bellingham more of a free role to push on when we attack then I see no problem.
 


amexer

Well-known member
Aug 8, 2011
6,440
Pickford must have been instructed to kick long all of the time. Obviously not a fan of playing out from the back
 


crodonilson

He/Him
Jan 17, 2005
13,737
Lyme Regis
I'd drop Foden, I get he's excellent for Man City who in turn are the best side in the world but I've yet to see him have a good game for England. With Bellingham he's not ging to get the number 10 role he wants, we desperately needed an outlet on that left hand side as it became very predictable that all our threat was down the right. I'd start Gordon on Thursday. Bellingham was quite superb but tired so I'd give Foden the last half hour in his preferred 10 role on Thursday and give Jude a bit of a break, we're going to need him badly if we're going to do anything in the latter stages of this tournament.
 




Pavilionaire

Well-known member
Jul 7, 2003
30,953
The chickens are coming home to roost. Southgate persisted with Jordan Henderson and Kalvin Phillips for a good 12 months too long, then when he finally realised what we all knew, i.e. they were done, he parachuted in Mainoo and Wharton.

He then tells the press this could be his last chance to win with England. When a manager has that mentality he will go with tried and trusted, ergo shoe-horning TAA into central midfield.

For me he still has the players to succeed. I would bin off Trent and put in Wharton as CM who has excellent positional sense. I'd swap Shaw for Trippier so you have a proper left-back with a left foot. That will create channels that Foden can use to be more effective, but if he keeps on playing like a headless chicken I'd swap him for Palmer who seems to have a better football brain.
 


jackanada

Well-known member
Jul 19, 2011
3,304
Brighton
I like a formation change, but the main reasons for one seem to be that:
TAA is not a midfielder, which can be solved by simply playing an actual midfielder.
Lack of numbers in midfield. Which could be solved if Rice didn't spend his whole time a few feet in front of the CBs picking the ball up. Of course this could be because he doesn't trust those CBs to pass well which could be solved by playing different CBs.

I don't expect England to go full Brighton Dezerbi mental on fannying about at the back but in build up we effectively have Pickford, Guehi and Rice occupying one spot in the chain. Three players right at the back where you only need one is going to make your midfield look very light.
 


dejavuatbtn

Well-known member
Aug 4, 2010
7,418
Henfield
Rice plays far too deep when we have the ball. He needs to be 10 yards further forward and let the centre backs take on modern responsibilities. When Dunk has played, Rice has always got in the way.
We could be so much more progressive.
 


The Fits

Well-known member
Jun 29, 2020
9,872
I just think Southgate and his staff are still really confused where to play people and how.
I'm not going to criticise our overall success under him- we can debate until there cows come home whether man to man we are par, slightly underperforming, or doing well under him- but to get to a major tournament with major questions to answer about how we get the best (or in Foden's case even 75%) from our players seems inexcusable to me.
Putting all our eggs in the Bellingham basket isn't the worst thing, he's the best allround young English player I've ever seen, but if we struggle this year that will be Southgate and his staff's failure.
 




Motogull

Todd Warrior
Sep 16, 2005
10,113
The chickens are coming home to roost. Southgate persisted with Jordan Henderson and Kalvin Phillips for a good 12 months too long, then when he finally realised what we all knew, i.e. they were done, he parachuted in Mainoo and Wharton.

He then tells the press this could be his last chance to win with England. When a manager has that mentality he will go with tried and trusted, ergo shoe-horning TAA into central midfield.

For me he still has the players to succeed. I would bin off Trent and put in Wharton as CM who has excellent positional sense. I'd swap Shaw for Trippier so you have a proper left-back with a left foot. That will create channels that Foden can use to be more effective, but if he keeps on playing like a headless chicken I'd swap him for Palmer who seems to have a better football brain.
I pretty much agree with that save that Shaw is not fit yet and Wharton plays tor that lot. There must be a better option.
 


Iggle Piggle

Well-known member
Sep 3, 2010
5,562
How many times have we seen last night's game before? We start well but at some point the opposite manager works out what's going wrong, tweaks it a bit and the balance of play changes. Southgate stands on the sidelines with his hands in his pocket and the fat man stands there looking clueless. The only difference between the Croatia game we lost and the Italy one we threw away was that Serbia had the equivalent of Billy Paynter up top and would struggle to put one past Sheffield United.

Our only real hope is Bellingham. He at least looks like he wants to make history rather than be another footnote in a team that goes out in some sort of penalty debacle. I really hope I'm wrong but 4-1 England to win it feels like one of the worst bets I can find.
 


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