England Fixtures pose worries

England fixtures coming up include Oct 12, San Marino (h); Oct 16, Poland (a); and Mar 22, 2013, San Mariono (a).  The question is: does Wembley inhibit England players? Although Hodgson thinks that the players got hold of the ball and played well, it took Frank lampard’s late penalty in the last fixture (England 1, Ukraine 1) at Wembley, to transform the match that so nearly dashed England’s World Cup hopes. Although Lampard and Gerrard played well individually, they did not work as a team, preferring to look for the big pass instead of one another. Anatoliy Tymoschchuk guarded the base of midfield well, unlike England, who were left open to counterattacks.

Hodgson hopes to have Scott Parker and Gareth Barry available for next month’s visit to Poland and England certainly needs a defensive midfield specialist patrolling in front of their back four.

15 goals in nine games is an okay score rate but the handful of missed chances on Tuesday was unsettling. Hodgson could choose Wayne Rooney as main striker but a lack of sharp pace could mean opponents can push up when he is the team’s furthest man forward.  The quick breaks of Konoplyanka and Andriy Yarmolenko exposed the worrying lack of pace at the heart of the England game. Hodgson needs to start developing his young centre-backs – Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Steven Caulker.

England’s crowd of 68,102 was the biggest of the 43 internationals on Tuesday but there were still empty seats. England needs to quicken its pace all round.