When it comes to England, how long have we been talking about a crowded central midfield and how best to arrange it? Since wee Stevie Gerrard was such a young figure at Anfield.
This certainly does go back to the Fabio Capello days of trying to shoehorn Frank Lampard and Gerrard (Steven Gerrard, of course) into the Three Lions midfield, or asking Gerrard to play wide on the right. Yes, that happened.
Now it’s Roy Hodgson’s job to shoehorn all the central midfielders into some kind of balanced, workable assembly. His next chance comes Wednesday in one of the high-profile friendlies – perhaps even the highest of profile friendlies – among a bunch of them around the world.
England meets Brazil on Wednesday at Wembley Stadium as part of the country’s Football Association’s 150-year anniversary celebrations.
And in the run-up to the match … yes, we will talk about England and central midfielders. Scott Parker and Gareth Barry apparently will not be part of the plan.
So Gerrard, Lampard, Jack Wilshere and Michael Carrick will be in some arrangement against the powerful Brazilians. Says Hodgson:
You must balance your team out. You get as many of your best players in the team but if you are really very fortunate and have got four exceptional players, who play in the same position and they are all fit and ready to play, I’m afraid you have to make the choice. The mistake can be to try and include them all. But I’m not going to ask Jack Wilshere, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard or Michael Carrick to play on the right wing.”