Could Barkley have a role to play?.

England: Five questions that need to be answered (6)

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Beating/playing well against opponents who keep the ball

This is the big one. If England want to make any kind of significant mark on the 2014 World Cup this is the question that Roy Hodgson needs to answer above all others.

It is just about conceivable for England to make it through the group stages without putting in a good performance against a side that keeps the ball well.

A backs-to-the-wall performance utilising two deep-sitting defensive banks might be enough to take England through the group ahead of Italy or Uruguay. Such tactics will come unstuck in the knockout stages, though. Almost certainly in the second round.

What's the answer then? With the emergence of players like Ross Barkley, Wilshere and Adam Lallana along with the likes of Carrick, England might (just might) finally have a midfield that can keep the ball. Would Hodgson risk playing enough of these players over the likes of Lampard and Gerrard though?

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World Cup
England Football

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