Football: Le Tissier praises attacking England

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Matt Le Tissier praised Roy Hodgson’s decision to field an attack-minded England side in Switzerland.
Matt Le Tissier praised Roy Hodgson’s decision to field an attack-minded England side for the European Qualifier in Switzerland.
Danny Welbeck scored twice in a 2-0 win having been fielded as a central striker alongside Wayne Rooney with Raheem Sterling behind them at the tip of a diamond midfield, and Le Tissier approves of the attacking mentality.
“It was nice to see so many forward thinking players on the pitch,” the former England international told Sky Sports News.
“I prefer to have a couple of people up there. I was very positive in the way that I played the game, I always wanted to see bodies in and around the box to give yourself options when you get into that final third. That’s where you win football matches.
“So, for me, playing one up top makes it very difficult to win football matches – especially when you’ve got players behind who aren’t natural in going and joining in to score goals. Yes, you’re compact, but I think you need at least three or four players in your side who are a goal threat on a regular basis. If you’ve got that you’ve got a great chance of winning games.
“[Hodgson] has had a reputation for being a little bit cautious in the past. I think the diamond formation with two up top was a good way to go because I think – although Switzerland are ranked number nine in the world – Roy looked at it and thought ‘they’re actually not that great’. If we are positive in our play and our formation then we can go and get a result there, and it turned out that way.”
Diamonds not forever
Le Tissier believes that the performances of Welbeck, Rooney and Sterling are more important than the shape that they line up in.
“Sometimes we get a little bit too involved in the formations of teams; at the end of the day it doesn’t matter what formation you play,” he continued.
“If the players don’t perform well they can be in whatever formation they want, you’re not going to win a football match. To win a football match you have to have at least five, six, seven of your players having a decent game to give yourself a chance of winning.
“Whatever formation they’re in makes no odds, if you’ve only got two or three of them performing it’s not going to happen.”
The Southampton legend is also not about to get carried away with England’s successful start to their European Qualifiers campaign.
“I’m not sure ‘coming of age’ after one decent result is really the way to put it,” he said.
“It was encouraging. It was the toughest, on paper, game in the group. From that point of view it was a brilliant start for us. In terms of coming of age I think we’ll see that over the next couple of years.
“If you’re going to talk about coming of age you’ve got to see those players performing in a major tournament to a decent level.”
Despite Welbeck being England’s match-winner in Switzerland, Le Tissier believes a better option was unavailable.
“Daniel Sturridge is still, for me, the better player of the two. Sometimes you get carried away by little snippets of performances.
“Don’t get me wrong, Danny Welbeck was excellent at finishing last night – okay the first one came off his shin but who cares, it’s gone in the back of the net – he made a great run to put himself in that position. And the second was a very composed finish.
“But if you’re looking at current form or form over the last year then Sturridge is still the better player of the two and the more dangerous player of the two in front of goal.”

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