Could this England team really play like Man City? Don’t believe the hype

Dan’s World Cup thoughts for Just Arsenal by Dan Smith

English fans promised ourselves we never go to a major final again over hyping our chances. Yet is anyone else beginning to find the current media love-in sickly ?

Gareth Southgate is being hailed as a tactical genius for talking to Pep Guardiola, as a former player can apparently identify with his squad in terms of being away from family, mentally has cured them by getting grown adults to talk to each other and the press wIll no longer write a bad word because they have been invited into the hotel to play pool and darts.

The danger being that our manager believes in his own hype and over complicates things. While I’m happy we are going to a tournaments knowing our best team and have an identity, it should be rememberd that none of this has been tried in a competitive match against a good team.

Bill Shankly once said that the game was simple but others chose to over complicate it. Surely any formation or individuals should beat Tunisia and Panama?

Playing 5 at the back, having full backs as Centre-backs, basing defenders on ability to play with the ball should only be praised if we knockout a top nation. Anyone can take the Man City template but the difference is they have word class talent. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to keep the ball, but let us be realstic. Kyle walker alters position at the Ethiad because the champions are used to 70 per cent of possession.

If he was a good centre back, for his club he wouldn’t play right back ! It’s Southgate thinking outside of the box, but is he just doing it for the sake of it?

Dan Smith


  1. gotanidea says:

    England cannot play like Man City, but they could play like Conte’s 3-4-2-1 or Ranieri’s 4-4-1-1. With five defenders in the back, they will rely on quick counterattacks and the physical attributes of their wingers (wingbacks and wide attackers)

    I feel they can get the World Cup trophy this time, because the squad consists of young people that are hungry for trophies. That could happen if Spain make a blunder, because Spain play very fluidly like Barcelona

  2. Dalinho says:

    Dan Smith
    He’s just playing walker there for his pace and bcoz walker comes inside for city along side fernandinho he can obviously do it! He’ll basically be a full back when defending anyway so it doesn’t scream pep tactics! I don’t understand ur comparison with Man City when England have one of the lowest expectations for a World Cup in years and if getting the press of the players backs helps then what’s the problem? We all know it hasn’t helped in the past when the media harass the team so maybe this will work! Southgate is playing the system he used to play in at boro with 5 at the back, ultra defensive, no real playmaker just hoping sterling or Kane get a chance or two! It’s boring but could work in knock out tournament if Kane can do what ronaldo did to Spain lol no one believes the “hype” bcoz there ain’t any

  3. Rkw says:

    With the midfield players in squad answer is obviously never …. Whatever wilshere’s inconsistencies he offers a touch of quality absent from this squad … That said so far other than Spain the european teams inc Uruguay and Argentina who r mainly euoropean based look jaded so it will b all about picking up a bit of momentum in group stage and carrying that in to knockout stage … England have good attacking options and decent defence so,who knows

  4. Nonny says:

    Funny Uruguay and Argentina look jaded let’s wait and see how England will look..
    England winning this world cup Will require a miracle such that Chelsea got 4 winning champions league..Hey dude they are not the youngest team At the world cup.

  5. Chizzy Nigeria says:

    This squad can’t pass the quarter finals. They have the quality but no character. Team is over hyped and they themselves believe the hype that’s the problem. I can’t see them winning teams like Brazil, Spain or Germany

    1. big g says:

      As per normal then.

  6. Blue Mancunian says:

    I don’t think that England could play like City either however, there are one or two things that England COULD do that City do and one of those is playing out from the back
    Also they can keep passing to keep the ball when there isn’t an opening
    We’re already seeing that the England keepers are preferring to pass the ball out rather than kick it long which gives the ball away

  7. big g says:

    England won’t reach the 1/4 finals let alone win it, we don’t have the technical ability that other teams possess nor do we have any real experience at major tournaments within our squad.

  8. ruelando says:

    England has a good squad, the only issue is they are lacking a ball handler, a player who controls the flow of play, short and long passes, breaking from the midfield into the final third and a genuine eye for the pass.

    What they do have in abundance are pacey players, height in surplus and youthful legs. Set plays and direct attacks will be the order for the for England.
    I see them reaching the last 16, after that anything is possible, not a favorite but good enough to do damage to some of the favorites

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