Hoddle: England Should Be Cautious Against Ukraine and Play Walcott Centrally

Glenn HoddleFeatured ColumnistSeptember 9, 2013

Ex-England manager Glenn Hoddle has signed on to write a weekly column for Bleacher Report UK. Learn more out about Glenn's exciting new website venture, Zapsportz, right here.

FA chairman Greg Dyke believes we will have to wait until 2022 for England to win the World Cup. While I agree with much of what the FA chairman has had to say recently, I don't want to wait that long.

In the meantime, no one is giving England much hope if they get to Brazil, and I must say it's a big "if." Much depends on the performance and result against Ukraine on Tuesday night.

It will be a vastly different game to the one England won comfortably against Moldova at Wembley on Friday. That was a job well done, but it was more like a training exercise. How awful was their goalkeeper?

In Kiev, captain Steven Gerrard must play a far more disciplined role in terms of protecting his defence, rather than rampaging forward in search of goals. He scored a fine goal at Wembley, assisted by Frank Lampard, but he'll need to be more conservative on Tuesday night.

We've been told for years that Gerrard and Lampard can't play together together, but of course they can. 

However, not conceding a goal and making sure England are tight at the back will be the focus against Ukraine. England need to be sure they give nothing away in the early stages, because Ukraine will go for it against a weakened England team.

With so many strikers out injured—including Wayne Rooney—and with Danny Welbeck suspended, it might be an opportunity for Theo Walcott to step up and play a more central role—watch out for that. Used occasionally through the middle, his pace could give them problems.

My prediction? Well, I would snatch your hand off for a point, and England are capable of getting it, but equally we should not think, as most fans do, that England should beat nations like Ukraine. They are a quality side.

England need to be rock solid at the back, and take their chances when the few materialise.


All hail centurion Frank


I am absolutely delighted that Lampard has been picked by England manager Roy Hodgson to collect his 100th cap against Ukraine. What a big game for his country to achieve the honour in.

Frank deserves to reach the landmark. Chelsea’s record goalscorer joins an elite band of England centurions in Billy Wright, Bobby Moore, Bobby Moore, Peter Shilton, Gerrard and his club team-mate Ashley Cole. 

In any era, consistency is the key to reaching 100 caps. It doesn’t matter how many managers some of these players have had, they were picked regularly by all of them—which tells you a lot. There can be no doubting Lampard's lasting quality.  

I reached 53 caps and would have loved to have made it to 100, but I am immensely proud to have played for my country at all. It's the pinnacle for every footballer. It is something you dream about as a kid, and a momentous feat when it happens. 

However, I know that becoming England's eighth centurion is not the most important thing on Frank's mind.

At the age of 35, he desperately wants a last hurrah at the World Cup in Brazil next summer. He will be concentrating on bagging at least a point for his country in Kiev.


* Zapsportz.com is the new exciting website where Glenn Hoddle reveals how kids from all over the world can enter the X-factor style Zapstarz, the former England manager's search for a new generation of footballing talent.