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BBC pundits on England

Alan Shearer
By Alan Shearer
Match of the Day pundit

The best team won. France were the better team on the night.

England kept the ball reasonably well at times without getting anywhere.

I would have loved to have seen them work the ball in the final third a lot more. I thought a lot of the balls, particularly from David Beckham, were coming from too deep.

France kept the ball and were quick and had more incisive passing than England. They certainly had the best two players on the pitch in Nicolas Anelka and Franck Ribery - they caused England all sorts of problems.

You have to congratulate Beckham on getting 100 caps because it is a magnificent achievement and he thoroughly deserves it but I don't know whether it is because of a lack of match fitness or whether he can't do it any more but he spent far too much time with Wes Brown ahead of him.

For me David should be further up the pitch. Yes he can still pick a pass out and still whip a ball and we know he is excellent at that.

But England didn't really work the final third enough and, if anyone worked did, it was Brown rather than Beckham.

Brown must be absolutely shattered because he was having to cross the ball, defend and had to do a lot of Beckham's running.

It is not going to be an easy task for Fabio Capello to get England playing how he wants but this is only his second game and I don't know how many training sessions he has had with them - six maximum.

It is going to take time and this is what these friendlies are for - to look at Beckham and whether he has still got the legs, to look at John Terry and Rio Ferdinand in defence because he has got Jonathan Woodgate to come in.

Wayne Rooney is up front on his own playing a completely different role for England than he does for Manchester United because he has got Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez running off him there, which he has not got with England.

Alan Hansen
By Alan Hansen
Match of the Day pundit

It started off like a practice match or an exhibition match and normally under those circumstances the team that is better in possession always wins.

The French were better in possession and there lies Capello's problem because he is trying to make England into a great passing side.

If you are going to be a true passing side you need to have everyone comfortable in possession and England just haven't - that is not the way the English play the game

Alan Hansen

Now a manager can give you certain things - he can give you inspiration, belief, confidence and he can get you organised.

But he cannot make you a better passing side unless you've got nine or 10 outfield players who are very good technically and comfortable in possession and England just have not got that.

Every bit of guile and creativity came from the French.

There is no problem for Fabio Capello if England are boring if they are winning - the public will accept anything when you're winning - but the problem is when you're not.

Because he is an Italian he is going to be cautious. That is not a criticism, that is an observation.

He will play that way, get men behind the ball and try to pass and pass. I just think he has got a problem trying to play that way.

If you're going to be a true passing side you need to have everyone comfortable in possession and England just haven't - that is not the way the English play the game.

Credit to David Beckham, in an age where players are retiring early he has kept on going and given his all for England.

But is he there on merit? Probably not. There is no doubt deserves 100 caps but maybe he should have had 20 minutes against Switzerland last time round and then you look to the future.

Alan Hansen and Alan Shearer were speaking on Match of the Day

Graham Taylor
By Graham Taylor
Former England manager BBC 5 Live pundit

Have I seen anything to please me about England? No.

That doesn't mean to say everyone has played badly because they haven't but I just expected more following that first game against Switzerland.

I thought we would see more but what we saw in the first half here was very disappointing.

606: DEBATE

The thing is, injuries permitting, this is who we have got. This is the quality of the players we have available to choose from.

Is it a worry? It is for me if England coach Fabio Capello wants to be more fluid, because I don't think we have those players to be able to do that.

The thing that really worried me was the first half performance when we played the 4-2-3-1 formation that we are led to believe Capello favours and I thought we were very poor tonight.

What I thought I saw in the first half was a team playing to the manager's instruction and formation. I don't think that formation or team was working and Capello recognised that by making four substitutions at half-time and taking us back to 4-4-2.

As for David Beckham? Everything he did came from a static position and we know he can hit crosses in from those positions like he did tonight.

But we are judging him on his 100th game. If Fabio Capello is going to be building a more mobile team I don't think David is going to be the answer - I think the boy David Bentley is going to be.

David Ginola
By David Ginola
BBC Radio 5 Live pundit

It was not the best game ever.

Obviously it was a friendly and obviously it was a new experience for Capello. He wanted to try some new players and different tactics.

The players and the team must be more together. They must play more together as a team and I would also like to see more individual adaptation.

I did not see anybody taking the ball and running at players.

We do not see that often enough - it is very important, just look at Franck Ribery. It is very difficult for a defence to face a player who will run at you - he will win free-kicks and penalties.

For me, in modern football we need some players who can run at players.

Graham Taylor and David Ginola were speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live


see also
France 1-0 England
26 Mar 08 |  Internationals
International football as it happened
26 Mar 08 |  Internationals
Wednesday's football photos
26 Mar 08 |  Football
England Player Rater
28 Mar 07 |  Internationals
Centurian Beckham in England team
26 Mar 08 |  Internationals
England centurions
26 Mar 08 |  Internationals
Ferdinand delight at captain role
25 Mar 08 |  Internationals
Beckham's England career in photos
25 Mar 08 |  Football


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