Five things learned about England in 1-0 win over Denmark

Wembley England

England's World Cup preparations continued with a 1-0 win over Denmark, but what did we learn about Roy Hodgson's side?

Here are five takeaway points from the narrow victory.

Daniel Sturridge should be played up front

Roy Hodgson has been pushing his 4-3-3 system for a while now, but too often it feels like square pegs in round hole. Wayne Rooney isn't the ideal lone front man as he wants to come deep and pick up the ball, rather than hold play up. Additionally, Daniel Sturridge seems a little wasted out wide. He spends time tracking back, which really isn't how he should be used, whilst when England attack he isn't using his predatory instincts in the box. It feels like moving back to a 4-4-2 with Rooney and Sturridge up front should be the way to go, but Hodgson appears committed to the 4-3-3.

Adam Lallana has to start at the World Cup

There was a noticeable difference in England's performance last night as soon as Adam Lallana came on to the field. The Southampton star took over the game with his dribbling and close control, before playing in a perfect cross for Sturridge to score the winner. England fans and pundits have been appealing for more 'continental' players; players who want the ball at their feet and can take the opposition on with guile, and in Lallana, it seems England may just have found one – and he shouldn't have to be restricted to a cameo appearance either.

Ashley Cole may struggle to make the 23-man World Cup squad

Cole has been a bit-part figure for Chelsea this season, and whilst he did okay against Denmark, Luke Shaw looked better in the second half. It seems Everton's Leighton Baines will almost certainly start England's first game against Italy, and with Shaw and Arsenal's Kieran Gibbs also having better seasons than the 33-year-old, Cole may have an uphill battle to make the squad. The one thing he has going for him over Gibbs and Shaw is that he's experienced, but he may need a run in the Chelsea side to re-stake his claim.

There is no clear central defensive partnership

One of the primary areas of concern for England is at centre back. Gary Cahill seems to be locked in as one of the starters, but after that, it's something of a guessing game. Manchester United's Chris Smalling was paired with Cahill last night but the duo had a few nervy moments, which will give hope to the likes of Phil Jagielka, Phil Jones, Steven Caulker and even Joleon Lescott. England have to face Mario Balotelli, Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani in the group stage of the World Cup, and will need a solid central defensive partnership to cope with them.

There are too many good midfielders to warrant taking Tom Cleverley

Cleverley is a hard worker, but simply doesn't offer as much as other midfielders who are vying for a role in the England squad. Steven Gerrard played in the holding role once again last night, with Jordan Henderson and Jack Wilshere alongside him. That meant Michael Carrick, Ross Barkley, Frank Lampard missed out, and it's hard to see Cleverley offering England more than those players do either defensively or going forward.

image: © geetarchurchy

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