Tuesday 28 March 2017

Five things we learned from England's defeat to Holland

England's Jamie Vardy shakes hands with Netherlands' Jeroen Zoet after the game
England's Jamie Vardy shakes hands with Netherlands' Jeroen Zoet after the game

Full-backs make their mark while, up front Theo Walcott did not do his chances much good. Here are five talking points from England's defeat to Holland.

1 Rose blossoms at left-back

Diamond midfields need the full-backs to provide the width, and it was no surprise that England’s best early moments came from Danny Rose. His forward runs down the left set up Jamie Vardy and Daniel Sturridge’s shots, which was as good as it got before Vardy’s opener.

Rose clearly understands this system and must now be favourite to start in the Euros.

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2 Walker crucial to the cause

The best proof of the full-backs’ importance came when England took the lead just before the break. Kyle Walker took up his most advanced position of the match, and when Adam Lallana cleverly found him, he could square to Vardy to convert.

Walker, like Rose, is used to providing width to a narrow team, and he should get the chance to do it in France.

3 Soft centre a worry for Hodgson

There was a time when England’s strongest position was centre-back, but it is now the weakest area of the team. England were in control of this game until John Stones slipped under pressure, which led to the Dutch equaliser.

Then Phil Jagielka was knocked over by Vincent Janssen and Holland were 2-1 up. Back to the drawing-board for Hodgson.

4 Forster stakes a claim ​

This has been a difficult season for Fraser Forster but he may finish it on the brink of playing for England in the European Championship. With Jack Butland out, Forster is now number two, but his performance here suggested he could aim even higher than that.

He made three good saves, was powerless for both goals, and has a lot to be pleased with.

5 Walcott fluffs his lines

Theo Walcott played with ferocious enthusiasm when he came on in the second half, knowing that he has something to prove. Walcott has had a tough season, and must know he needs to improve to make Roy Hodgson’s 23.

He always wanted the ball but almost looked too keen to impress, rushing his execution in the final third, as he often does.

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