While Roy Hodgson's Three Lions yielded zero points for their 2-1 defeat on Saturday, with Claudio Marchisio and Mario Balotelli offsetting Daniel Sturridge's 37th minute strike, the press claimed many positives to take from the game - including the attacking approach and the effectiveness of prospects such as Raheem Sterling.
Barton, who has already begun examinations for his coaching badges, believes tweaks must be made on the training ground with slight changes to the team-sheet in order to get the better of Uruguay, in a statement that counters the media consensus.
"All those saying we shouldn't be fearful of [Italy], were incorrect," said Barton. "They may never run past you but the ball is key in big games, especially in this climate. Pass, pass, pass not run, dribble and pass if you are in a dead end."
Barton tips Ross Barkley and Jack Wilshere, who were named on the bench for the Azzurri test, to start on Thursday, perhaps at the expense of Danny Welbeck and Jordan Henderson, respectively.
"Barkley and Wilshere have to start next game," said the 31-year-old. "The key stats include England passes 425/468 and Italy 561/602. When will we learn? We can still make it [out of the group stage] but Barkley, Wilshere and [Luke] Shaw must start," added the once-capped patriot, noting the ease in which the Italians were able to exploit flaws on England's left-hand side as Rooney and Leighton Baines failed to communicate, leaving the Toffees full-back exposed time and again.
"Fortunately Costa Rica and Uruguay aren't as strong or as slick as the Italians. We can make it but Roy must be bold next game."
|Touches||Pass||Pass Acc||% of Fwd Pass||Pen box passes||Chances||Goals|
While Italy enjoyed far more touches on the football, attempted more passes and retained possession easier, England were not far off when it came to the amount of forward passes played and even had the advantage when it came to pass attempts made in the final third - or, in and around the penalty box. Of the 468 total passes made by the English, 119 were in the final third, which underlines their intent.
England also created 15 goal-scoring opportunities which, incidentally, is the highest thus far of any losing team in the World Cup to this stage (the average amount of chances for a losing team is 9.36 to date), but were only able to put the ball in the net once.
"Faster transitions are the key," noted Barton. "Quick incisive passes.
"We are passing the ball from left back to right back so slow it's painful. Passing with purpose is the key. Short, sharp, accurate, forward passing at tempo. Make things happen… disrupt the opposition in transition [and] don't let them settle or find their rhythm.
"[There is] lots to build on but plenty of work to do. Again, [I'd play a] front four of Rooney, Barkley, Sterling [and] Sturridge. [Steven] Gerrard holds [the midfield] and Wilshere [can] link play."
England tackle Uruguay on Thursday, June 19 ahead of their final group match against Costa Rica on Tuesday, June 24.