England 0 Chile 2: Three talking points as Sanchez strikes twice
England 0 Chile 2: What lessons did we learn as Roy Hodgson's men saw their 10-game unbeaten run ended at Wembley?
Worrying lack of depth
Missing just a few players, England lacked any threat whatsoever at home. The likes of Adam Lallana, Jay Rodriguez and Ross Barkley possibly deserved their call-ups and you feel sorry for them that they did not get the support of the more experienced players. Games are won and lost in midfield. Frank Lampard was ineffectual and James Milner, playing in the centre, chased shadows as Chile rolled the ball comfortably around them with ease. Jack Wilshere struggled to get on the ball often enough and none of the three will be confident of starting come the first group game in Brazil. Gary Cahill has been fairly solid alongside his usual partner of Phil Jagielka but looked all at sea tonight against a world-class centre forward in Alexis Sanchez, whose form this season for Barcelona has started to justify the trust they have put in him. With Townsend and Sturridge starting in previous games England looked to have a bit of an X-factor about them. Players that will commit defenders and put other teams on the back foot. It seemed without these two starting there was little for a Chile side, or any other prospective opponents in the next year, to be too worried about.
England struggle when they don’t have the ball. They don’t particularly set up to absorb pressure and counter attack so end up somewhere in between, quite often just chasing shadows and then giving up possession sloppily when they do get hold of it. At their club sides many of the players will not be used to being starved of possession and this is something Roy Hodgson will need to drill into his troops. They are not going to have all the ball at international level. Especially in friendlies, they do not press as a unit to win back the ball, so allow good players time to dictate the pace of the game. Then when England do win it back they are too slow to counter whilst the opposition aren’t quite set. If this doesn’t change it’s difficult to see them getting out of the group stage in Brazil. Yes, it was a friendly but that’s surely no excuse to not work hard whilst receiving an England cap? This has been a common trait over the years for England. The Premier League arrogance and swagger is curtailed when second division players are passing rings around them.
Back to the uninspiring England friendlies
Plenty of empty seats, a lethargic display and post-match interviews looking at the positives of a toothless England display. After the lofty heights of beating the footballing giants of Montenegro and Poland in World Cup qualifiers, the tempo and pace that got them these results were immediately forgotten. Granted, it was an experimental side but, Lallana apart, the players fighting for their places offered little to nothing. The fans seemed disinterested and the corporate seats were left empty for even longer than normal after the second half, but who can blame them. It raises the question of why England can’t be a touring team and fill out stadiums elsewhere in the country, but the lack of foresight, and the money that needs to be recuperated from Wembley means that is not an option. If Hodgson’s side are going to play with this kind of vigour in friendlies, it hardly seems worth it, and is a slap in the face to the loyal fans who made the trip to FA HQ.