Five key talking points from England vs Slovakia

Sport360 staff 08:35 21/06/2016
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England vs Slovakia.

England missed out on top spot in Euro 2016 Group B with a flat 0-0 draw against Slovakia in St Etienne.

While ensuring their place in the first knockout round, it means Roy Hodgson’s side will almost certainly face a trickier draw.

Here, we consider five key issues arising from Stade Geoffroy Guichard.

ROY HODGSON’S GAMBLE COULD GET HIM IN TROUBLE

Word has it Roy Hodgson was persuaded to roll the dice with half a dozen changes by his assistant Gary Neville.

All well and good had they cantered to a 3-0 win, but the disappointment of a Slovakian stalemate will put the manager firmly under the microscope, not his deputy.

He will be accused of putting the cart before the horse, resting his key men instead of giving his all to gain top spot. A tougher potential draw now surely awaits and Hodgson will regret at his leisure.

Roy Hodgson.

Roy Hodgson.

ENGLAND’S DEAD BALL GAME NEEDS RESUSCITATING

Harry Kane was the fall guy in the first two matches – with endless observations that he should not be taking England’s free-kicks and corners.

Wayne Rooney duly stepped in against Wales, to no great effect, and here Ryan Bertrand and Jordan Henderson alternated before Rooney’s reintroduction.

The delivery was average in the most part, sometimes far below that, suggesting no magic solution exists in the ranks. But this cannot be allowed to continue when other teams squeeze every last drop from their dead ball chances.

JACK WILSHERE AND JORDAN HENDERSON AREN’T READY

Hodgson must have been hoping to see two of his favourite midfield operators make full use of their return to the starting XI.

But Jack Wilshere and Jordan Henderson, who both recovered from injury just in time to make the squad, did not light things up in St Etienne.

Wilshere in particular was a shadow of himself, spraying passes into mystifying areas and failing to bring any tangible impact. England perked up after his 55th minute substitution.

Henderson was brighter and did muster a couple of presentable crosses, but this was not his all-action best and his radar was not always good.

Wayne Rooney comes on for Jack Wilshere against Russia.

Wayne Rooney comes on for Jack Wilshere against Slovakia.

ADAM LALLANA MUST FIND A FINISH

Liverpool’s Adam Lallana may not have been in the starting side for the tournament had Danny Welbeck been fit, but he has done a good job of mirroring the Arsenal man, for good and for ill.

Like Welbeck, Lallana has been tireless off the ball and regularly shuts down surging full-backs.

But the pair share share a lack of finesse in front of goal too. Lallana has not scored in 26 internationals and passed up more good chances here.

Adam Lallana.

Adam Lallana.

ERIC DIER IS A ROCK

However England’s Euro 2016 story ends, Eric Dier will come out of the tournament with his stock at an all-time high.

He performed his nominated anchor role with aplomb, pinged some wonderful passes from the base of midfield and then, as the goal refused to come, pressed himself forward.

He was the calmest head in the final third as England flung themselves into attack, hanging back to collect rebounds and clearances and recycling possession.

Also showed a willingness to strike from range. The 22-year-old is suddenly irreplaceable.

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