What is England’s best attacking option?


There were many talking points coming out of England’s typically uninspiring-but-at-least-it-got-the-job-done performances in their most recent two Euro 2012 qualifying games. Not least, how on earth is Fabio Capello failing to bring the best out of some of the most talented players in the world and manage them into an impressive footballing unit?

However, another very important issue which emerged was just what current England manager, Fabio Capello should do with the abundance of goalscoring talent he has at his disposal.

Let’s face it, a 4-5-1 formation with Wayne Rooney as the lone striker (which Capello employed for a large chunk of the qualifier against Wales) simply does not work and shows just how overly reliant Capello has become on the Manchester United striker. Capello’s failure to come up with a consistent front two or three means that more often than not Rooney is simply thrown upfield and expected to score goals. Make no mistake about it, Wayne Rooney is one of the greatest goal scoring talents that this country has ever seen and for his club this season he is back to the sparkling form that he often lacked last year.

Rooney, however, thrives when played either alongside or just behind another striker. To expect a hard working player like Rooney to play as the last man is borderline offensive. And, as expected, time after time when Rooney was not getting the service that he wanted, he was found tracking back into his own half to try and help out the team and inspire them to a better performance.


An option which has worked better (and Capello employed for the qualifier against Bulgaria) was to play Ashley Young alongside the Scouser. Young too is in phenomenal form for his club and since Young and Rooney play alongside each other week in, week out it is clear that they have formed a good understanding between them. This formation, with the possibility of either Stewart Downing or Adam Johnson moving up alongside them to create a 4-3-3 formation of sorts would be a far more dynamic option for Capello’s England as opposed to the stale 4-5-1 option which does not play to Rooney’s strengths.

Of course, this option overlooks two men who were sat on the bench for England for the games against Bulgaria and Wales. Both are proven goalscorers who can work as the last man in a 4-5-1 formation because they are out and out strikers. Darren Bent and Andy Carroll for a time looked like they may be the Alan Shearer-like solution to England’s forward troubles. However, both have yet to bring their domestic form to their international performances and both have come under fire for this from the press and from the gaffer.

Indeed, Carroll has been criticised for his form by the England manager, who blamed Carroll’s disappointing form on the Geordie’s social life, despite having no substantial evidence to back up such an outlandish claim. The Liverpool No. 9’s relatively poor form has more to do with injury troubles and the fact that he is currently struggling to push his way into the starting eleven at Anfield.

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