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Friday, 23 June, 2000, 11:25 GMT 12:25 UK
Keown issues 'inept' jibe
Martin Keown
Keown says England's tactical failings cost them dear
Martin Keown has accused England of being "inept tactically" following their early exit from Euro 2000.

The Arsenal defender criticises the employment of a 4-4-2 formation and says England should have made better use of David Beckham.

"The bottom line is that we were inept tactically, we were exposed against teams we could have beaten, we lacked pattern in our play at times, and ultimately, individual and collective tactical mistakes cost us dearly," said Keown.

Of particular concern to Keown is the side's defensive make-up.

"Since we arrived home, I've watched hours of the England games and the other matches and it seems that every other team forms a threesome in defence," he observed.

England's failings have nothing to do with technical skills

Martin Keown

"Even where a side starts with two central defenders, a midfield player drops back to form a third central defensive line.

"The Dutch, for example, use three at the back but it isn't a rigid three.

"It would be uplifting to see David Beckham with the freedom of, say, Edgar Davids."

Keown, who, at 33, is nearing the end of his international career, refuses to accept that the England players were in any way inferior to their opponents.

David Beckham
Beckham: England's Edgar Davids
"England's failings have nothing to do with technical skills, because I don't agree that we're not good enough as footballers," said the former Aston Villa and Everton defender.

Keown, writing for the Daily Telegraph, said it was time England developed a definite way to play at international level to ensure future success.

"We have to find a way of playing as a national team," he said.

"We all have to learn, use the library database of video footage on countries and players which the FA has built up over the last 18 months, which I'm told we didn't have before, and find our own style."

We have to find a way of playing as a national team

Martin Keown

Keown thinks England should contemplate modelling their game on either Holland or France.

"They both play in a style which could suit England," he said.

"The key to their game is fluidity. They have their own set-up, perform their own way, impose it on the opposition and every player involved is comfortable with it."

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See also:

23 Jun 00 | England
FA chief says Keegan needs help
22 Jun 00 | Romania
Premiership the problem says Hagi
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