England have yet to beat Ukraine, Montenegro or Poland in their World Cup qualifying group and, if Roy Hodgson wants to secure the nations place in Brazil, it is these two upcoming games where they have to make their impact.
The England manager will be pleased to see that both fixtures against Montenegro and Poland are at Wembley, but he will know that his side have to really go for it.
It is heavily important that Daniel Sturridge and Wayne Rooney lead the front line, and by adding some youth to the midfield, in the form of Ross Barkley, will certainly give lacklustre England some life.
The aim I think should be to bring in youthful prospects, using Jack Wilshere, as well as Barkley, to attempt to control the midfield with Steven Gerrard fulfilling the role he has now taken up at Liverpool - sitting just in front of the back four; protecting the defence.
Many may have doubts over giving Barkley a start when these matches are so vital for England’s qualification, but England are at home and the Everton midfielder has shown inspired form at the start of this season and has already has the experience of representing his country at Wembley.
It is vital for England that they soon move on from the ‘Golden Generation’.
Frank Lampard and Gerrard are still paired in midfield and it would be advantageous to England’s chances in Brazil if they begin to start to form new midfield pairings for the future. By pairing Wilshere and Barkley together in central midfield Hodgson would create a quite exciting prospect.
Defensively the team appears to select itself. The injury to Ashley Cole at the weekend has given Leighton Baines a place at left back and Kyle Walker will operate on the right.
It is imperative that both these players act as wing backs to aid England’s acting threat. Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka should form the centre back pairing in midfield.
Roy Hodgson famously prefers a solid 4-4-2 formation, with Wayne Rooney offering flexibility when he drops deep. But England have to win, so they have to go for it.
I would like to see a flexible front three, perhaps Daniel Sturridge playing centrally with Rooney, and either Danny Welbeck or Andros Townsend moving around the central striker, dropping deep and drifting out to the wing in order to provide the team with width.
All of these players have incredible ability and have hit the ground running at the start of the season. Sturridge especially has done more than most to earn his position in the team. His attitude has changed significantly this season.
The goal Luis Suarez scored against Sunderland wouldn’t have happened had Sturridge gone for goal himself, like he did many times last season. Instead, the Liverpool striker looked up and picked out Suarez. He has become a far better player for realising his weaknesses and eliminating them from his game.
Some people mocked England’s performance in Ukraine, but it was a result that many secretly would have been pleased with. Hodgson secured a draw and, more importantly, England’s place at the top of Group H with two games to play.
England are now at home and need to win. That is why I believe they need to be attacking. Many may be happy with nervy tight victories but I’d like Hodgson to play more expansive attacking football at home. The introduction of youth in both midfield and in attack should give the team the impetus to secure qualification.
The England manager only has to ask Graham Taylor what will happen should England come unstuck in their upcoming fixtures.
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