Taylor blames Hodgson for getting formation wrong
Graham Taylor has accused Roy Hodgson of getting his tactics wrong in England’s European Championship defeat by Italy.
Former England manager Taylor claimed it was impossible to win tournaments playing 4-4-2 and that Hodgson’s failure to nullify Italian playmaker Andrea Pirlo in Kiev on Sunday evening was a “mistake”.
England survived an onslaught to take the quarter-final to penalties before their shoot-out curse struck once again. “If we’d won, we’d all be excited, but in the back of our minds would be the 120 minutes where we were the second best team,” Taylor told BBC Radio Five Live. “In Andrea Pirlo, you’ve a player there who had the freedom of the pitch.
“One of the things I learned from my time is that we were never going to win anything playing 4-4-2. You can’t allow yourself to be outnumbered in the middle of the pitch because they play through the team and Pirlo had the freedom of the pitch. From a tactical point of view, that was a mistake.”
Taylor insisted England need to improve in possession to stand any chance of competing with the likes of Italy. “They are very comfortable on the ball and apparently going nowhere for a lot of the time,” he said. “Possession is nine tenths of the law in that regard. Italy basically kept the ball from us and dominated possession and had more shots. England looked tired as the competition went on.”
Harry Redknapp, favourite for the England job prior to Hodgson’s appointment, said: “It would have been an injustice if we’d won,” but added: “Roy Hodgson did the best he could with that squad. The players couldn’t have given any more. What this could do is provide a lesson for everyone about how to be a force at international level. With Andrea Pirlo in there, it was extremely tough for our boys to make an impact.”
Redknapp expects Hodgson to make changes for the 2014 World Cup qualifiers. “The match showed that the way forward points to a man like Jack Wilshere,” he said. “His absence was keenly felt because he can be like Italy’s Pirlo and can certainly dictate play the way Italy’s experienced man did.”
However, Redknapp hopes Steven Gerrard and John Terry stay in the squad. “Gerrard was still our best player at Euro 2012,” he said. “John Terry was magnificent. We still need those players, as there is World Cup qualification to think about. We need to bring through a few youngsters but, while doing so, players like Gerrard and Terry and others will be of vital importance.”
Former England striker Michael Owen suggested technical shortcomings and the absence of Paul Scholes were the keys to England’s exit. Owen took to Twitter after the game to lament the absence of his former Old Trafford team-mate Scholes. He wrote: “Pirlo was awesome but we have a player of a similar age and equally as good. Unfortunately he wasn’t there. Scholes. Easy for people to say ‘until we keep possession better we will never win anything’. We are not as good as others at doing that. We played to our strengths but are just not quite good enough.”
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