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Arsenal Pies

Steve McClaren is right not to bow to media pressure

Martin Samuel, the distinguished sports columnist for the Times and News of the World, suggested assuredly over the weekend that England would change the 4-4-2 system that has yielded so much recent success in the Euro 2008 Qualifying campaign, and reinstate Frank Lampard by deploying a 4-3-3 formation in Moscow today.

He was speaking on Sky Sports 1’s Sunday Supplement and seemed convinced this would be the option Steve McClaren would take. He felt the England manager would drop Shaun Wright-Phillips and that would be that.

Most of the press seemed convinced of this change too. Although it would no doubt add a bellyful of ballast to the Three Lions’ midriff if Frank were to be included, it would destroy the balance the team has enjoyed and thrived upon recently.


If anyone were to make way for Lampard it should be Steven Gerrard but that would be like replacing Patrick Vieira with Gilles Grimandi.

Gareth Barry provides our midfield with everything Lampard does not: perpetual movement and the short pass.

It’s infectious too, for the rest of the team then play a more passing game, which certainly suits a Heskey-less England. At least with Emile up front, Lampard’s admirable long-range passing would have a target but who’s going to insist Wayne Rooney and Michael Owen like receiving the ball at head-height?

So I was hugely relieved to hear reports earlier this week that McClaren would continue with the Gerrard-Barry partnership in midfield and leave Frank on the bench – from the start at least.


But what are YOUR thoughts on England’s starting line-up tonight? Should Frank play from the start or have we seen the best of him in an England jersey?

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Posted by Mo Khan on October 17, 2007 11:22 AM in
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