+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 7 of 7

Thread: 2020: England needs Rebuilding

  1. #1
    Part-Timer
    Join Date
    21st April 2008
    Posts
    1,497

    Default 2020: England needs Rebuilding

    Background

    The year is 2020 and on my save I'm just been appointed England manager. Whilst I am also a manager at club level too, this thread will focus purely on my international management of England, as I try to take them to WC2022 and glory.

    The reason for making this thread comes largely down to the fact that in my save, England's core group of players are all coming to the end of their careers, and as the new manager it's my job to blend old with new & slowly ease out the aging, whilst still qualifying for WC2022.

    England's success since 2012 has been prretty good. They won Euro 2012, came third in the 2013 Confederations Cup & third at the most recent World Cup, in 2018. They also made the semi finals of Euro 2020, losing to the old-enemy, Germany. However that generation has now come to a close, players who were at their peak are now what I would consider at the upper limit of their age at which I can consider them. The likes of Ryan Shawcross, Craig Dawson, Kyle Walker, Chris Smalling, Tom Cleverley, Wayne Rooney and Theo Walcott, all regulars in England sides of the past 5 years, are all over the age of 30. It was that generation's last chance at silverware, but they succumbed and now it's time to bring in a new era.


    The Future

    However, there is not a huge amount of talent coming through the ranks to replace those listed above (and others). Whilst there are a few good younger players, and the odd gem, on the whole England are not on the same level as other nations and, similar to real life at the moment, are going to have to adjust to do well. Rather than try to match sides at their own game, I like to keep it tight, make my side very difficult to break down and then use pace to break on the counter. We've got the players to do this, with the likes of Jack Rodwell to break up opponent moves & the pace of Raheem Sterling & Alex Chamberlain to launch counter attacks.

    My immediate task is to ensure qualification for the World Cup. I have been placed in a Group alongside Belarus, Wales, Montenegro, Georgia & Faroe Islands, a group I should progress from. Wales will likely provide the toughest test, they are ranked 15th in the world and have some quality players, both old in the form of Bale, Ramsey & younger regens too.

    I hope to take a "Roy Hodgson-esque" approach to remoulding the side into one that could hopefully "do a Greece" at the major tournament, should we get there. Of course the FA is expecting me to qualify for the WC to keep my job, so that's my first task.

    Unfortunately I don't have any friendlies to ease me in, and my first match is at home to Montenegro on September 5th. I can't bring in all my squad changes at once, this needs to be a slow evolution over the next two years which hopefully will see me arrive at WC2022 in Qatar with a fresh, young squad ready to pull some surprises. Or, it could see me sacked :P

    This is also my first career thread here on SI, so any feedback is appreciated
    Last edited by lurkingwithintent; 05-06-2012 at 14:25.

  2. #2
    Part-Timer
    Join Date
    21st April 2008
    Posts
    1,497

    Default

    As I had barely anytime to prepare for the first two games, I decided to stick with the squad I had inherited from the departing Stuart Pearce as much as I could, with injuries my only edits. Unfortunately we had a fair few, meaning I called on the inexperienced Gary Parker to make his first start. I've big hopes for Gary as an England player & hope he can become a regular. Players like Ryan Shawcross & Wayne Rooney are not in my long term plans but due to injuries to potential replacements, they held onto their place for the first squad.

    On paper, both these games looked more than winnable and I wanted to get my career off to a good start in front of an eager Wembley crowd.

    As I've progressed from this point on my save, I forgot to write down my entire 23 man squad, so for the first few games I will just show you the first XI. Apologies for this, after the first 4 games I have got all my squads written down so can go into more detail.


    World Cup Qualifying: Round 1

    GK: Jason Steele
    DR: Jordan Spence DC: Ryan Shawcross DC: Phil Jones DL: Alan Seargeant
    DM: Gary Parker
    MC: Josh McEachran MC: Jack Rodwell MC: Jack Wilshere
    ST: Connor Wickham ST: Wayne Rooney

    England vs Montenegro
    Wembley, London. 5th Sept 2020
    Wickham 33' 1:1 Savic 9'

    This was a strange game. They took the lead with what turned out to be their only attack of the entire match and from then on we bombarded the goal. Connor got us the equaliser just after half an hour and from then on I really felt we would go on and win the game comfortably. However it never really happened. Rooney was ineffective up front & whilst we looked solid I think I went too conservative given the occasion & opposition. In the last 15 minutes I tried to go more attacking to find a winner but just couldn't, ever though we'd had the chances. The Montenegro keeper got the man of the match award, which tells you everything.

    In the other games, Belarus beat Georgia 2-0 and Wales won 4-1 in the Faroe Islands.



    World Cup Qualifying: Round 2

    GK: Jason Steele
    DR: Jordan Spence DC: Ryan Shawcross DC: Phil Jones DL: Alan Seargeant
    DM: Gary Parker
    MC: Josh McEachran MC: Jack Rodwell MC: Jack Wilshere
    ST: Connor Wickham ST: Wayne Rooney

    Wales vs England
    Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. 9th Sept 2020
    Vokes 33' 1:2 Spence 38', Fettahoglu 93'

    I stuck with the same starting 11 but introduced some youth onto the bench, injury had ruled more players out but in the end I was glad it did, as one of them came off the bench to strike a crucial winner. Wales are a good side, ranked 15th in the world and showed it in front of a crowd on the whole eager for an upset. They got off to a great start as we looked nervous, and got the deserved goal, with Vokes heading in a Gareth Bale cross we failed to deal with. That goal seemed to spur us on and finally we started to play some good football, combining well down the left to leave Jordan Spence unmarked at the far post to head home a cross to level the game. The second half was a marked improvement as we dominated the Welsh but again struggled to convert chances. We came very close, twice hitting the woodwork, and I began to think a draw was on the cards only for young Ahmet Fettahoglu to pop up in the box late into injury time and poke it home. A goal for him on his England debut and a crucial one at that to give me my first win.

    In the other group games Georgia beat the Faroe Islands 2-1 and Belarus were 2-1 victors in Montenegro to leave us top of the group with 4 points.

    Last edited by lurkingwithintent; 05-06-2012 at 15:46.

  3. #3
    Third Team
    Join Date
    17th April 2009
    Posts
    7,644

    Default

    Euro 2021?

  4. #4
    Part-Timer
    Join Date
    21st April 2008
    Posts
    1,497

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Deisler26 View Post
    Euro 2021?
    Ah, good old typo's! Should have been Euro 2012. Fixed, Thanks

  5. #5
    Part-Timer
    Join Date
    21st April 2008
    Posts
    1,497

    Default

    With a month break until our next games against Faroe Islands & Belarus, I was finally able to start looking at the squad & options available, to pick out some key players, both experienced & young.

    At the back, Joe Hart would be number 1 in the nets. He may be 33 but for a keeper that's not too old. He's been the number one for a number of years with 131 caps to his name, and he will remain the number one for the next couple of years. In his absence, Alex Smithies is ample back-up.

    Defence is probably an area we're pretty weak in, especially in the middle. Unfortunately Phil Jones was ruled out for 4-5 months with ligament issues which is a shame, the 28 year old was central to my plans. For now experienced Craig Dawson is probably best bet for one of the two slots. In terms of looking to the future, Everton's Eddie Bradley and Millwall's Andrew Thompson probably offer the best options, but none are going to set the world alight. I would really love an English CB to spring up soon as I have serious concerns about this position going forward.

    On the flanks, I'd probably go with the experienced Jordan Spence on the right, but look at one of England's top prospects on the left, with Daniel Smith a huge up & coming star. The likes of Chris Smalling & Kyle Walker in my opinion are well beyond their best and wont have a role to play under my reign.

    In the midfield, it's clear the midfield should be built around 29 year old Jack Rodwell and 28 year old Jack Wilshere. The two Jacks should be able to combine to make a pretty mean looking midfield. Players like Gary Parker and Eric Anderson offer us alternative, younger options.

    On the wings I'm hoping to go with raw pace & energy, in the form of Alex Chamberlain and Raheem Sterling. I'm also following young Ashley Gardner with interest as I think he could turn out a very good player.

    Up top we don't have a huge array of options, so I may consider playing just one up there. Tom Maskell has impressed recently for Portsmouth & at 24 has a number of years ahead of him. 22 year old George Martin has also caught my eye abroad, scoring plenty for Palermo. I must also consider Connor Wickham, who I think is a good choice if we're only going to play one up front. The career of Wayne Rooney is now over, the 35 year old has over 170 caps, an amazing record, but has now peaked and he failed to impress me in the first two games. I must also keep an eye on Ahmet Fettahoglu, who got that late winner in Wales.


    Overall we seem to have a solid squad with some potential young talent too, but there are gaps. The entire side should be constructed around Rodwell & Wilshere, who will both play key roles in WC22 qualification, although in midfield if either or both of those players pick up injuries, we'll struggle. I also hope we can bring Phil Jones back in following his injury to complete a pretty decent spine of the side.

    In terms of tactics, I'm a fan of the 4-1-3-2 we employed against Montenegro & Wales but it doesn't let us use the wingers enough for me. Seeing as we're relatively weak at CB I am considering a 4-2-1-3 / 4-3-3 of sorts:

    GK
    DR - DC - DC - DL
    DM - DM
    MC
    AMR - - - - - - - AML
    ST


    Or potentially just playing a flat 4-4-2 too.

    I've also arranged some friendlies. In November we travel to Austria & Holland. In 2021, our first game is a friendly in Slovakia and then following some crucial WC qualification matches, we face what is sure to be a feisty friendly in Berlin against Germany.
    Last edited by lurkingwithintent; 05-06-2012 at 14:45.

  6. #6
    Part-Timer
    Join Date
    21st April 2008
    Posts
    1,497

    Default

    Following on from the first two games I had a better idea of some of the younger players I wanted to bring into the squad.

    As I've progressed from this point on my save, I forgot to write down my entire 23 man squad, so I will just show you the first XI. Apologies for this, from this point onwards I have written down all squads so I'll be able to show you in more detail the team I'm picking..

    With the squad I'd picked I decided to experiement with a 4-2-3-1 formation to try & make use of the wide men.


    World Cup Qualifying: Round 3

    GK: Joe Hart
    DR: Jordan Spence DC: Craig Dawson DC: Ryan Shawcross DL: Alan Seargeant
    MC: Josh McEachran MC: Jack Rodwell
    AMR: Theo Walcott AM: Jack Wilshere AML: Ashley Gardner
    ST: Connor Wickham

    Faroe Islands vs England
    Svangaskard, Toftir. 10th Nov 2020
    0:4 Gardner 21', Wilshere 28', Walcott 38', Fettahoglu 84'

    With the greatest respect to the Faroe Islands, this was an absolute walk in the park. The new 4-2-3-1 seemed to work okay but it's hard to say against a side that offered no resistance. I gave Ashley Gardner his debut & reluctantly put Walcott into the side due to injury to Sterling and both impressed, on the scoresheet as we strolled to victory.

    Elsewhere, Wales won 3-1 in Belarus and Georgia beat Montenegro 3-2 at home.



    World Cup Qualifying: Round 4

    GK: Joe Hart
    DR: Jordan Spence DC: Craig Dawson DC: Ryan Shawcross DL: Alan Seargeant
    MC: Josh McEachran MC: Jack Rodwell
    AMR: Theo Walcott AM: Jack Wilshere AML: Ashley Gardner
    ST: Ahmet Fettahoglu

    England vs Belarus
    Wembley, London. 14th Nov 2020
    0:0

    Once again my apparent Wembley curse struck as we completely dominated a sub-par Belarus but just couldn't convert chances. However, we also didn't create them despite our domination, which leads to me wondering about our attacking approach. The 4-2-3-1 didn't work, and with the two friendlies in November I think I'll try to implement the 4-2-1-3 discussed previously. This was another two points dropped, and it leads us in second place, just behind Wales. Our destiny is still very much in our own hands but we can't really afford many more slip ups.

    In the other group games Montenegro & Faroe Islands played out a 0-0 bore draw, and Wales went top with a 2-1 win at home to Georgia.


    Code:
    | Pos   | Inf   | Team          |       | Pld   | Won   | Drn   | Lst   | For   | Ag    | G.D.  | Pts   | 
    | ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
    | 1st   |       | Wales         |       | 4     | 3     | 0     | 1     | 10    | 5     | +5    | 9     | 
    | ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
    | 2nd   |       | England       |       | 4     | 2     | 2     | 0     | 7     | 2     | +5    | 8     | 
    | ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
    | 3rd   |       | Belarus       |       | 4     | 2     | 1     | 1     | 5     | 4     | +1    | 7     | 
    | ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
    | 4th   |       | Georgia       |       | 4     | 2     | 0     | 2     | 6     | 7     | -1    | 6     | 
    | ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
    | 5th   |       | Montenegro    |       | 4     | 0     | 2     | 2     | 4     | 6     | -2    | 2     | 
    | ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
    | 6th   |       | Faroe Islands |       | 4     | 0     | 1     | 3     | 2     | 10    | -8    | 1     | 
    | ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

  7. #7
    Youth Team
    Join Date
    18th December 2006
    Location
    Romsey
    Posts
    4,956

    Default

    Interesting thread idea, well presented too! Seems like you're solid enough, but lack a bit of cohesiveness in the final third to really break teams down.

+ Reply to Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts