Talking on Betfred’s ‘the football show’, former England player Paul Parker discussed the performance of English players ahead of their derby with Ivory Coast on Tuesday.
With Tuesday being the final friendly before the World Cup draw, Parker talked about how England currently looks on the pitch and shared his opinion on what can be expected from the team against Ivory Coast.
Referring to England’s last game, which was against Switzerland, Parker described the game as “experimental and very inexperienced”, adding: “Switzerland were kind of running them ragged to be honest, and they went one nil up deservedly so.
“The goal before half time by Luke Shaw kind of calmed things down, and then as everyone noticed, and then they started to bring on more experienced players because Switzerland were quite superior up until really the substitutions.”
Pressed on his thoughts on Gareth Southgate’s vision for the Tuesday game, Parker noted:
“He’s going to want to win, but he’s going to want a performance. He definitely didn’t get what he was looking for against Switzerland…but Ivory Coast, they would love to take the opportunity to go and beat England at Wembley, and they won’t care who they’re playing against.”
Also commenting on the possibility of Southgate getting rid of the trusted back four that got the team to a European final, Parker said: “Things have to change at any given time.
“He might just look at that just for the fact that all retention is going to be important, might just give you that little bit more with the fullbacks pushed, or the wing backs pushed, it gives you extra bodies in that midfield to kind of not surrender the ball so easily.
“Plus, the tempo is going to be slower because of the heat, but if Conor Coady is going to play in a competitive tournament for England it has to be in a three, it couldn’t be in a four in my opinion. But still, is it going to be Harry Maguire in there?
“There’s a lot of centre-halfs at the moment that Gareth has a choice of whether or not to take to Qatar.”
On his expectations of how difficult the Tuesday match will be for England, Parker continued:
“It all depends on if we start right, better than what we did against Switzerland and can actually get on and bust the ball like we did in the second half when the key players come on, then yes, it will be more of a dominance.
“But I think it would be a hard game, a physical game, as they’ve got high-tempo players, players with a lot of pace and energy. England have to start right, otherwise it could be a very, very difficult evening, with a side that might get the belief that they can go and achieve a massive win against England at Wembley.
“They will get stronger and stronger to try and maybe make up for what they missed out on before, because people back at home just might let them off the hook a little bit.”