Tony Adams is worried that England’s tactics against Iran will be too open against stronger teams and airs concerns that Gareth Southgate doesn’t have a plan for later in the World Cup.
The Three Lions played four at the back against Iran and enjoyed great success going forward, dominating the game and recording a resounding 6-2 victory.
While scoring six was obviously superb, conceding two in the second half was frustrating and Adams reckons it needs to be addressed.
The Arsenal legend believes Luke Shaw and Kieran Trippier attacking from full-back leaves too many gaps behind them and a team like France, with the attacking prowess of Kylian Mbappe and others, would exploit it.
‘I don’t want to be a doom-monger but there were situations, against what was a poor Iranian team, which would seriously concern me against much stronger opposition,’ Adams told The Sun.
‘Great as we were going forward and benefited particularly from crosses by Luke Shaw and Kieran Trippier, I worry about the gaps we leave when the full-backs bomb forward.
‘When you play four in defence, you can leave the centre-backs exposed — and it is what happened for Iran’s first goal.
‘I fear we are not making a proper plan for when we come up against, say, France in the quarter-finals, which is something we should already be planning for.’
Southgate will certainly have considered this, and it may be that England revert to playing three centre-backs against more formidable opposition.
However, Adams has offered some advice, saying the Three Lions can stick to a back four, as long as Declan Rice is helping out when the full-backs go forward.
‘When Shaw flies down the wing and we lose the ball, we need to make sure there is cover behind him,’ said the former defender.
‘This comes about by moving the centre-back across to full-back and defensive midfielder Declan Rice dropping into centre-half.’
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