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  Wednesday, 27 March, 2002, 23:55 GMT
Hansen's England verdict
BBC Sport's Alan Hansen looks ahead to Man Utd, Liverpool and Arsenal's Champions League matches
BBC Sport's Alan Hansen looks at the implications of England's friendly defeat against Italy.

England's experimental line-up made life difficult for the players and coach Sven-Goran Eriksson.

The object of the exercise is to find out about your team, but on occasion England's players are lining up with colleagues they have not played with before - and they know they will only get 45 minutes to shine.

When you know you are coming off, as so many of these players did against Italy, you are trying even harder to impress and that puts you under even more pressure.

England are also at their best when something is at stake. They are not the best technically and the Italy game showed how much they rely on their better players such as Paul Scholes and Steven Gerrard.

Wayne Bridge is likely to go to the World Cup
They were both outstanding against Holland and the players coming in possibly can't pass it as well and are maybe not as committed, which puts England up against it against quality sides like Italy.

I thought Wayne Bridge did well. There were one or two areas defensively where he didn't get tight enough, but I would imagine Eriksson would be happy with him and I would expect him to go to the World Cup.

The left side position still remains a problem for England. The players who have played there have done all right, but all right isn't good enough at the highest level.

You have got to play in that position and be top class, and we haven't seen one player who falls into that category as far as England is concerned.

The one who can do it is Graeme Le Saux, but there is clearly a problem with Le Saux and England - and getting sent off against Spurs when Chelsea were 4-0 up didn't help him.

Eriksson still has to answer left-sided problem
I think Kieron Dyer will play there if he is fit - but what happens if he is not fit?

Joe Cole showed flashes, but the World Cup is going to come too quickly for him. He's going to be a fantastic player.

He's got great talent and ability, but at times he has got to learn when to play the ball and when not to play it. He got caught in possession and it led to Vincenzo Montella's first goal.

Ledley King did all right, but I couldn't understand what he was doing in the squad. He's light years away from the World Cup.

 VOTE RESULTS
Was the game a worthwhile exercise?

Yes
 55.23% 

No
 44.77% 

10418 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion
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Links to more World Cup 2002 stories are at the foot of the page.

 

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