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Ex-Arsenal defender Martin Keown pinpoints where England must improve

Martin Keown has stated that The Three Lions need to look to play shorter passes and reduce the distance between midfield and attack.

England warmed up for their World Cup campaign with a 3-0 win over Peru last night at Wembley, in a far-from perfect performance.

Although there were some bright moments for the hosts, a lack of fluidity stood out in the game against the South Americans.

Martin Keown has suggested that Engand’s midfield should look to play shorter, quicker passes and that the side need to reduce the space between the holding midfielders and those ahead of them.

On Friday night in the first half there was too big a gap between Steven Gerrard, Jordan Henderson and the front four,” Keown wrote in his column in The Daily Mail.

“If you have two midfielders sitting then you need five or 10-yard passing options in front of them to move the ball quickly.

“Gerrard sat deep but Henderson did not bomb forward as often as he does for his club.

“There were moments of quality — Daniel Sturridge’s goal was outstanding — and things improved in the second half but there were too many straight, long passes. England looked much better when there were more short options.”

Keown also stated that he felt that Roy Hodgson had showed the English public his team to start the tournament against Italy.

“The side Roy Hodgson went with on Friday night could well be the team that ends up starting against Italy in Manaus,” the ex-Arsenal man continued.

“In my experience, managers tend to pick their first XI in the first warm-up match and then use the rest of the squad in the later friendly games. Often they then revert to that first side for the tournament opener.

“It happened in 1998 and again in 2002. If Roy follows suit, don’t be surprised if the 4-2-3-1 side that started last night starts against Italy.”

Glen Johnson came in for criticism in the press after an underwhelming performance while most agree that Raheem Sterling is a better option on the flank than Danny Welbeck.

England still have two more friendlies to play before kicking off against Italy.

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