Lineker says Hodgson got his system wrong at World Cup

Gary Lineker

The former Spurs striker has highlighted a few weaknesses.

Former Tottenham Hotspur striker Gary Lineker has said that England manager Roy Hodgson got his setup wrong in the two World Cup group games in Brazil.

England have been eliminated at the group stages with one match to spare having been defeated by Italy and Uruguay, and face their final group match against Costa Rica tomorrow evening. 

The Match of the Day presenter is quoted, saying: "The system that suits this kind of England better, with the lack of experience in it, is probably a 4-3-3.

"He tried to just play with two players in the centre of midfield. In the first game I thought it was better because he had [Raheem] Sterling behind [Daniel] Sturridge, and that gave us three because Sterling is more of a natural midfield player certainly than [Wayne] Rooney.

"The problem with this 4-2-3-1 is that it very quickly becomes a 4-4-2 or at least a 4-4-1-1 and we end up with flat lines and people getting between us. I think we would have been better - and I said this before the tournament - with three midfield players because you've got to give yourself a chance defensively."

There was praise for the performance against Italy for England as they narrowly missed out in Menaus. Some called it a very positive performance, but in Sao Paulo against Uruguay the reaction was less than impressed as defensive frailties were horribly exposed.

Many critics of Hodgson have suggested that he has played too many players out of position. Jordan Henderson has never set alongside Steven Gerrard for Liverpool but operated ahead of his captain, whilst Raheem Sterling has thrived in a central position. Despite playing Sterling in a more central position against Italy, he was played in a wider role against Uruguay and looked isolated.

Then there was the issue over Wayne Rooney. He was played on the left against Italy and played centrally against Uruguay, it always looked as if there was one player either looking uncomfortable or out of position, but the system remained the same - rather than a system being built for the players.

Now, there is a lot to learn for England for after their last group game, as they prepare for the qualifiers for Euro 2016. 

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