We don’t have many mantras or mottos in life here at COS, but if we had to make one up then “If someone who is arguably at the top of your field pro actively gives you advice, then bloody well take it.”
Arsene Wenger, interviewed prior to the 3-2 loss to Croatia, suggested that Stevie boy play 4-5-1 just as he did but with David Beckham on the wing rather than Shaun Wright Philips. Looking solely at Beckham’s predictable blood-and-guts effort and his beautiful cross for Crouch’s goal you’d have a minor hindsight argument to make.
But, more importantly, it made sense. The pitch was always going to be a pile of crap with the weather coming and the mud would mean that England wouldn’t be able to pass it on the ground easily, or dribble it effectively (at least for England’s somewhat technically inept players) which means – all together now – a reliance on high/long passes and set pieces. Hmm, if only there was a player in the squad who was still among the best in the world at said skill.
So we’re left to wonder, what if Beckham – fueled by being given the chance to save his country yet again – had been able to supply crosses to Peter Crouch all game long? What odds that McClaren changed his team just to stick it to Wenger and avoid anyone say he copied him?
Hindsight is a beautiful thing, but so is not being a cocky idiot.