Reports have emerged suggesting that tomorrow night Wayne Rooney will be left out of the starting 11 against Slovenia. Regardless of my personal opinion on Rooney’s selection, I like the fact Gareth Southgate is willing and has the confidence in his own managing ability to make the bold decision.
Hopefully, the decision made by Southgate can allow the team and the fan’s focus on the winnable, however, tricky clash in Ljubljana tomorrow evening.
I presume we won’t see much change in regards to the starting level. I expect Eric Dier will return to the centre of midfield and replace Wayne Rooney. Ryan Bertrand injured his hamstring in the win on Saturday evening and was replaced in the squad by Kieran Gibbs. However, I expect Danny Rose may return to the left back position. Otherwise, we will see the same set up that started on Saturday.
Slovenia will be in a confident mood after they beat their rivals Slovakia on Saturday, and if they beat England they will leapfrog them in the group. However, Slovenia have their own in-house issues to deal with, as Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Kevin Kampl has dropped out of the squad due to a bust up with the Slovenia coach Srecko Katanec.
The England players were criticised after the Malta game for not winning by a bigger margin. Although, the defensive performance of Malta deserved recognition. The problem main problem we have within international football is the gulf in the class of the various countries competing for a place in Russia. We, and the Maltese population, know that they are not going to qualify for the World Cup. Therefore, they just play to ensure they don’t lose by more than 5. England should have beaten Malta by more but they didn’t. However, they did win comfortably and lead the group by 2 points. A win tomorrow will essentially eliminate the threat of Slovenia within the group.
I believe the judgement on whether Gareth Southgate should manage England on a permanent basis should be judged on how he implicates a structure, not just on how many goals England beat certain teams by.
I understand the need for solid and dominating displays, but I would rather get through the group and be looking to build for the major tournaments. It may sound cocky or over confident, however, I expect the qualifiers to be a formality and we should be looking just build a team and a philosophy to challenge in two years’ time.
I do expect a tight international affair but I am confident England will cruise to victory 3-0.
Oblak; Aljaz Struna, Samardzic, Cescar, Jokic; Krhin, Kurtic, Verbic, Birsa; Ilicic, Bezjaka
Hart; Walker, Cahill, Stones, Rose; Dier, Henderson; Walcott, Jesse Lingard, Alli; Sturridge
to credit: zoonabar <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/92496717@N00/4693857071″>Three Lions</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>