Blogs & Opinion


Jamie Redknapp:

Most Popular Posts:

Recent Comments:

Stuart Mcdermott on The thin blue line

"Jamie, superb article as always! I have to say that, as always, you're spot on. Arsenal have no momentum going into the last 5 games and i can't see them getting the results they ... " View all comments

Opinion Archive:

Lion cubs not ready

Experienced heads will be key in Moldova, says Jamie

Jamie Redknapp - Jamie Redknapp Posted 6th September 2012 view comments

England travel to Moldova on Friday night to kick-off their 2014 World Cup campaign - and the experienced players in Roy Hodgson's squad will be vital to ensuring they come away with all three points.

There have been calls for Hodgson to do away with the old guard - players such as Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and John Terry - and look to the future by filling the squad with young players - but that just isn't realistic.

Experienced: Lampard and Terry still have a lot to offer, says Jamie

Experienced: Lampard and Terry still have a lot to offer, says Jamie

This is where I have real sympathy for Hodgson. Tom Cleverley, for example, is being talked about by many people as the next midfielder who will run the game for England. Well, last week at Southampton, Manchester United were losing until Paul Scholes came on for him and changed the game.

It's easy to say we should play the youngsters but, for me, they've got to be playing regularly for their clubs and producing week-in, week-out in the Premier League before they can displace the more experienced players we've got in the side.

Jermain Defoe will be desperate to make his mark. He scored a good goal against Italy last month to take his tally to 17 in internationals, but he's never really sealed a place in the team.

Jamie Redknapp
Quotes of the week

And that's the problem - not enough of our young players are playing regularly in the top flight. Jordan Henderson is another example; he's not in the starting XI at Liverpool.

When we last played away to Moldova, in Glenn Hoddle's first game in charge of England, David Beckham made his debut. Well, where's the modern day young David Beckham or Paul Scholes making their case for a starting spot?

I haven't seen a young English player of that quality recently. The predicament is the older players are the best we've got, which is a shame, but I don't think Hodgson feels he's in a position to experiment anyway.

Of course he is trying to make changes to the way we play; he showed that when he played a 4-2-3-1 formation against Italy and I hope he continues with that approach.

But, despite taking over for the Euros, he probably feels like he is still settling in and will want to get results on the board early - and to do that he will need his experienced players.

Opportunities

However, his task isn't made easier by the string of withdrawals from the squad. Wayne Rooney, Andy Carroll, Adam Johnson and Ashley Cole will all be missing with injury, which isn't ideal, but it does open the door for other players to stake a claim for a place in the team. Jermain Defoe, in particular, will be desperate to make his mark.

He scored a good goal against Italy last month to take his tally to 17 in internationals, but he's never really sealed a place in the team. In fact, he's never played a full 90 minutes for England in 49 appearances! But I think this sort of match is made for him.

I remember when I played with him at Tottenham - he was one of the best forwards I ever played with in terms of his finishing. However, I would never have believed you if you told me he'd be able to play up front on his own.

He struggled to get in the Tottenham team last year when they were playing Emmanuel Adebayor up front with Rafael Van der Vaart in behind him and if Hodgson perseveres with this formation he used against Italy then Defoe needs to lay down a marker in this game and show people he can do the job.

This is the way the modern game is going and he needs to embrace that or face being a sub. But, in recent years, he's improved remarkably as a lone front man and I think he will show that on Friday night.

I'm expecting an England win but I don't think it will be that easy. Moldova will sit back and make it difficult for us and Eastern European players tend to be able to keep the ball well, too. But I think we'll have too much for them and win 2-0. There's a bit of confidence in the team after the Italy result and hopefully they'll be able to build on that in Moldova.

England should have no problems winning their group but hopefully during the campaign Hodgson will start to get a better idea of how he wants the team to play - and how they're able to play. His main objective, though, is to ensure we qualify.

The manner in which we do it isn't the most important thing - as previous campaigns have shown, but if we can get a strong start under our belts, later on in the qualification phase Hodgson can start introducing more young players - and hopefully there will be one or two coming through in the next season or two to make a case, as well.

back to top

Other Football Experts:

Latest Posts in Football:

Graeme Souness

Souness - City must adapt

Graeme Souness says Man City shouldn't play two strikers if they want the win they need in Moscow....

Football League Bloggers

Andrews: Benefit from change

Keith Andrews blogs on a successful weekend for new managers at Watford, Bolton and Cardiff....

Latest News RSS feeds

United make late point

Daley Blind struck a late leveller as Manchester United's stuttering form continued with a 2-2 draw at West Brom.

UEFA drops Arsenal charges

Arsenal will face no UEFA action following an incident during their Champions League game against Galatasaray.

Should Suarez start El Clasico?

Will Luis Suarez be thrown in against Real Madrid? Our experts debate the case for and against.

Rodgers: It's not just Ronaldo

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers insists his side cannot become too focused on stopping Cristiano Ronaldo on Wednesday.

West Brom duo stay positive

Craig Dawson stayed upbeat after Daley Blind’s leveller forced West Brom to settle for 2-2 draw with Manchester United.

Features

Should Luis Suarez start El Clasico? The case for and against

Should Luis Suarez start El Clasico? The case for and against

Should Luis Suarez be handed his first Barcelona start in Saturday’s showdown with Real Madrid?

Where are the Invincibles now?

Where are the Invincibles now?

ARSENAL'S 2003/04 XI (Based on Premier League starts)

How to improve the Invincibles?

How to improve the Invincibles?

Which Arsenal player past or present could have made the team who went 49 league games unbeaten even better? Is it possible to improve a side who were close to the perfect mix of ability and versatility?