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2010 FIFA World Cup: Ashley Cole Being Left Out On His Own

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 18:  Ashley Cole of England lines up for the national anthems prior to the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group C match between England and Algeria at Green Point Stadium on June 18, 2010 in Cape Town, South Africa.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images
Andrew KearneyCorrespondent IJune 19, 2010

The system England are currently using under Fabio Capello is not working. That seems under no dispute. So what is the problem? Is it simply just likes of Wayne Rooney, Frank Lampard, and Steven Gerrard under-performing?

In this writer's opinion, it's more basic than that. The formation is lopsided and England lack all shape in their play.

England captain Steven Gerrard is supposedly playing as England's left sided midfielder but in both the games against USA and Algeria, the number of times he ventured out to the left side could be counted on a single hand.

Because Gerrard is deploying himself as a third central midfielder we see the age-old problem of why many believe Lampard and Gerrard shouldn't play together. Both players are trying to take up the same space and get in to the same positions, inhibiting both players' play.

Extra pressure is also being put on England left back Ashley Cole. As Gerrard is playing in the middle, it's up to Cole to move up and provide the threat on England's left side. Unfortunately, this is no easy task as Cole has to also be aware he is pitifully exposed on the left hand side when ever the opposition has possession. It's no coincidence much of Algeria's threat came from Cole's side of the pitch.

So what's to be done? Well, obviously England need someone to come in and play on the left. Joe Cole would seem the obvious choice, having played there numerous times for England in the past.

Then there's the formation. If Capello is adamant on playing 4-4-2, Lampard or Gerrard will need to be dropped. Most likely it would be Lampard because its unlikely the England manager would drop his captain.

Another option is for Gerrard to play behind Wayne Rooney in the attack as many have been calling for. It is believed this is an option favoured by Rooney himself.

When England next play against Slovenia, the system will need to be changed. What is clear is England cannot carry on in this competition as they are.

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