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6/11/2012 01:02:00 pm

Rafa Benitez insists: RH must play Gerrard out of position against France. Agree?

England kick off their Euro 2012 campaign against France this evening, and Steven Gerrard is almost certain to be playing in central midfield as the team's deep-lying playmaker. Gerrard admitted yesterday that the days of him bombing forward from midfield are now 'gone', but former Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez believes that Gerrard can still have a significant attacking impact for England, and he's urged Roy Hodgson to consider deploying him in a different position.

Andy Carroll is a major contender to start tonight's game with France, and Benitez insists that playing Gerrard as a second striker could make all the difference. He told The Independent:

"If Andy Carroll is the target man then my idea is that Steven Gerrard would be the better second striker for now. This is partly because he knows Carroll from their work together at Liverpool but it is also because Gerrard will win the second balls around the box. Of all the players Hodgson might choose to play behind the striker, Gerrard has the greater strength to win those second balls".

I have to agree with Benitez here:

* Gerrard has the skill and creativity to do a great job as a second striker, and we've seen that in his partnerships with Fernando Torres and Luis Suarez.

* Playing further up the field reduces his workload, and allows him to concentrate on hurting the opposition.

* Gerrard is arguably less likely to get injured playing as a second striker.

* Playing further up the pitch will also allow him to get crosses in for Carroll, which h did to great effect in the latter part of last season.

* Gerrard's influence will be muted in central midfield, especially if he's having to do lots of defensive donkey work, which will probably be the case.

In my view, Gerrard needs to have Zidane-esque free role for England, and being tied down to a disciplined central midfield role will stifle his impact.

Jaimie Kanwar

11 August 2014

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Colin Mallia said...

The problem is that then who is going to play in central midfield ?

Dirkdiglar said...

Welbeck looks like he has got the nod, so we don't have to worry about it..

Nineteen7t8 said...

Benitez is clutching at straws. Carroll isn`t starting, so it doesn`t matter.

Mike said...

I might agree if Barry and lampard had been in the squad, but midfield needs gerrard now...

JK said...

Henderson can play as centre midfielder next to the work horse parker. Henderson has enough one touch passing ability to feed the wingers and parker and has the tactical discipline to hold postion. 

Born Red said...

I've read the original story in the Independent and nowhere in it does Rafa "insist" where Gerrard should play. He talks about his "idea" of where he should play. We all have ideas of best formations, best starting 11 etc.

Your headlines are misleading.

Yogibearone said...

But he knows what he is talking about!

OriginalChan said...

Generally, I have always preferred Stevie as a second-striker or right wing over Stevie the central midfielder. But I think considering the state of the squad at the moment, Stevie needs to be used as a central midfielder for England, even though I don't rate him in that position at international level. Obviously he has to pick his moments to burst forward wisely from a deep position, whereas in a second-striker role he has a bit more freedom.

Highstead said...

Having Gerrards greater contribution to midfield would also enable england to play with greater pace on wings with oxlade and walcott left and right or yound and walcott - giving us greater penetration when teams push up when they have possession.

Akbar said...

Go through the group, play spain or italy and go home....what is the point!

rowanb said...

Young should be LM ahead of downing, steve g behind wellbeck, rafa is
right about that. as far as who would play CM instead, it could be one
of many for gerrard is and never has been a top draw CM. he has the odd
game where he excels there, but , his best play has always come from RM
or behind the strikers. the fact that he has chosen the CM position as
his own at liverpool just shows that player power over rides whats best
for the team sometimes. i hope rodgers makes him change his game into a
short passing xavi type who looks for less hollywood balls and just
makes the side tick. its potentially less glamourous for stevie me but
its what we need. 

Ronny said...

If Gerrard plays as second striker then Englands midfield will become very average and i think that would be counter productive for England. Don't think Gerrard will be played as a second striker, i think Young will play that role and don't see Carroll starting either. IMO the England's lineup vs France would be Hart Johnson Terry Lescott Cole Parker Gerrard Milner Chamberlain Young and Welbeck.

James Woods said...

He's played second striker before, that's no revelation. That's the thing with Gerard, he can play both positions. Hart...Cole, Baines, Jagielka, Johnson....Oxy, Gerard, Milner, Young....Wellbeck, Carroll 

Mark said...

Zidane never had a free role. He generally started on the left of a diamond, with the licence to drift infield.

Jaimie K said...

The point is he wasn't tied down to one position, and he was free to drift along the front line. That is ostensibly a free role.

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chocolatechib said...

Good point Jaime, but I think that Welbeck got the nod to start before Carroll. Woy had decided to play his teammate Ashey Young as a second striker slightly behind  Welbeck. So Gerrard will be playing along side parker pulling the strings from midfield. I have to agree I like a more attacking Gerrard when he is free to play further up front. I think he is indeed more influential when he is free to attack the defense in support of a striker. What i miss is his 30yard bullets from outside the box. Been a while since we saw that.

Bekim said...

As Roy wouldn't know. How can Rafa tell Roy what to do. The man has 36 years of experience. Managed world class teams like Orebo,Malmo, Xamax and the powerhouse football nation Swisscerland.

JayOne said...

Gerrard was a top notch central midfielder back in the day. But that was a long time ago, when he had the energy to just cover the whole pitch like Momo, but with more quality on the ball. Without that energy nowadays though, he is only a just above average central midfielder, but still a top class playmaker.

You don't see other teams forcing their best attacking threat to sit in midfield, and I don't see why England (or Liverpool in recent years) have chosen to do so.

OriginalChan said...

Each to their own I guess, in relation to how they rate Stevie G as a central midfielder. I don't particular rate his 'playmaking' either. Agree to disagree.  

For this tournament, in my view, it is understandable why England are playing him in that position and in that manner as they don't have great alternatives in that squad. 

JayOne said...

Might as well stick a defender there considering the job that is expected of a central midfielder in a Hodgson team...

JayOne said...

The attack needs Gerrard more. 

JayOne said...

I don't get the "clutching at straws" aspect of the comments? :-/

Torres was more like Welbeck than Carroll as a centre forward anyway. Gerrard should be pushed up through the middle, irrespective of who is up top.

Mitzsu said...

I've always thought that Gerrard would be better suited to playing the CM role, for this to be effective he needs a partner like Hamann...or someone up to the task...

Naturally the argument for him to be in the hole is a good one based on his success playing in that position but he was none too shabby on the right either...

Basically he is a versatile player who can adapt depending on the strengths of the side he is playing in, for England tonight he worked well alongside Parker, tracked back made some vital interceptions, tried to keep the play going forward....put in a good cross for the goal and helpde to stifle France coming forward.

Ideally i think with Rooney in the hole...it would have worked better and perhaps we would have beaten France as i thought Young was not as effective in that position albeit he played okay at times.

IF we had an abundance of quality midfielders to choose from i would  agree that Gerrard would be pretty lethal in a free role but then again if that was the case then we would also have more attacking playmakers to choose from.

Anyway, not a bad performance tonight considering the oppositiion, playing Gerrrad in the hole could have lost us the game as i think France would have had an easier job breaking us down...and Gerrard would have been dropping deeper and deeper to have to pick up the ball which also was the case under rafa for our last season under him.....

BillyDeane09 said...

two banks of four, no flair players, this is Roy Hodgson the master of defensive techniques here, it is like watching West Brom or Fulham under him now. Stifle the opposition and snatch a goal from a set piece.
He will have to attack more now as nothing less than a win against Sweden will see England out

Zacjibin said...

The problem is that Gerrard is England's best player in more than 2 positions.

BillyDeane09 said...

Dour manager dour team, the best young players are injured, Wilshere, Rodwell, Kyle Walker, the experienced players are injured like Lampard and Barry so we have to have your Hendersons and Downings who are 2 poor players for Liverpool never mind for England.

dharma.dave said...

Vs Sweden i would go with....






Then Vs Ukraine id go with....






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