Will England’s Under 21 failure have ramifications for our Euro 2012 campaign?

Stuart Pearce’s men went to Denmark after weeks of speculation about whether his squad would be joined by England starlets Jack Wilshere and Andy Carroll, in the end they did not and at that point Pearce’s men didn’t stand a chance in hell. Where did England’s young boys lack well, in the centre of midfield and up front… Two positions which they were let down in by the aforementioned boys.

In their first game against Spain’s under 21’s two of the opposing numbers had full international world cup winners medals, what did England have, two full international caps (In friendlies). Such was the task in front of them. They were doomed from the start really, whether Pearce’s square pegs in round holes approach was to blame, or his rigidly defensive 4-5-1 (NOT 4-3-3) or just the players lack of cutting edge.  

The only real pro that can be found from the debacle that was Denmark, was the emergence of a promising back four. Manchester United duo Chris Smalling and ‘Colossus’ Phil Jones look to9 be a centre back pairing of formidable talent, well capable of taking over from Rio Ferdinand and John Terry who are reaching the twilights of their career. Chelsea’s young Full Back Ryan Bertrand was only intended to be a back up to Kieran Gibbs, but was called upon when Gibbs pulled out and made some tremendous attacking runs up the left. But the highest praise must be left for the newly dubbed, ‘English Roberto Carlos’ Kyle Walker. Walker provided the majority of England’s attacking intent in all three games and caused opposing full-backs all sorts of trouble, Glen Johnson who regularly occupies the slot at full international level needs to watch his back as this boy should and will be gunning for him.

Bar the back four though, it was a disaster. £20 million signing Jordan Henderson was deployed as a second holding midfielder and was rarely seen in the attacking third of the pitch, which meant he had little if not no impact on the games. Captain Michael Mancienne  was played out of position as a holding midfielder and in 4 out of 5 of his passes, passed wither sideways or backwards, now this is fine if you are Spain and play that kind of  football, England sadly do not and this rendered our central midfield utterly useless.

Our wingers in the form of Danny Rose and Tom Cleverly provided little or no cutting edge and left Danny Welbeck and lone striker Daniel Sturridge often looking isolated. What Engladn really needed was say a creative midfielder who can pick a pass, say urm, Jack Wilshere?

What this means for Euro 2012 is that while there is some talent coming up through the ranks, they are far from ready for the big time yet, so yet again the old guard of Lampard, Barry, Ferdinand et al will be called upon, at England’s peril no less. 

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