The announcement that Gareth Barry will be playing against Algeria on Friday night came as no real surprise as Fabio Capello has made no secret of the fact that he prefers to have Barry in his team, the fact that he has brought him knowing he would miss the first game shows how much faith Capello has in him in the midfield holding role.
I expect this to lead to a dramatic improvement in England, as it is a return to the formation that got them this far, and lets be honest about it, it’s a system that should be good enough to beat Algeria.
I had my moan about Capello’s strange decisions surrounding the USA game, and now am looking at the positives for Friday night.
The only team changes I can see is Barry for Milner, and Carragher for King.
Having picked Rob Green for the USA game (not a choice I would have made), Capello must now stick with him. Unless Green has showed it has badly effected him in training, then I believe he should retain his place in the side. From what I could see Green still looked ok after the error, in fact I was quite impressed with the way he conducted himself afterwards.
It looks like Jamie Carragher will replace King at the back beside John Terry, there is a lack of pace with this pairing, but they are England’s best and most experienced fit out and out defenders.
In midfield I expect Gareth Barry should release Gerrard into a more attacking role. Along with Lampard, the three of them are well used to playing this system, and although I’m not overly happy with Gerrard out wide it is the best way Capello has found to utilize the three so far. And in fairness Gerrard roams a bit when playing this system. Aaron Lennon could do with putting in a performance as he wasn’t great against USA.
Up front Capello has apparently suggested that Defoe is in contention for a start, can’t see this happening myself. Surely if Capello wants to make a change he would bring in Crouch for Heskey. Heskey had a funny game against USA, in a way it was typical performance from him. I didn’t think he played that bad, but the usual problem remained as he missed his chance when clean through, had he scored it could be said he had a good game.
The bookies have England as heavy favourites, they are a best price of 2/7 with Paddy Power and William Hill.
One complaint to make about England, I wish they would stop moaning about the ball. All the teams have to use it, and it just sounds like we are getting our excuses in first!