Pitchside

Five truths from England’s win over Peru

Pitchside

England will rely on Sturridge, not Rooney in Brazil

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Wayne Rooney has failed to deliver on the big stage for England, with the Manchester United striker disappointing in Germany 2006 and South Africa 2010. But, in typical fashion, the British press have pinned much of the nation’s hopes on the shoulder of the 28-year-old as the World Cup finals draw ever nearer. Judging on England’s performance against Peru, however, it will be Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge flying the flag for Roy Hodgson’s England this summer.

Sturridge netted on 21 occasions for Premier League runners-up Liverpool this season and continued his fine form against Peru – opening the scoring in spectacular fashion. Darting inside from the right touchline, Sturridge sent a delightful, whipped effort in the far corner with his left foot from the edge of the penalty area.

Like Rooney, the Liverpool striker worked tirelessly throughout his stint against the South Americans, but it was Sturridge that impressed at Wembley – something of which he will hope to do in just over a fortnight’s time.

Baines’s left foot could be key in Brazil

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Roy Hodgson’s provisional 30-man squad didn’t spring too many surprises, though the only real talking point was whether the England boss should have selected veteran full-back Ashley Cole. The Three Lions centurion has been one of England’s most consistent performers in recent years, but the Chelsea man was overlooked – with Leighton Baines and Luke Shaw getting the nod.

There’s no questioning the quality and experience that Cole would have brought to the England squad in Brazil, but Baines adds an extra dimension. The Everton left-back has a deadly left foot, and Hodgson’s men could really benefit from set-pieces. Two of England’s three goals came from corners, with Baines’ devilish delivery causing the Peruvian defence all sorts of problems.

Who needs John Terry?

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Phil Jagielka had, earlier in the week, said that calls for John Terry to come out of retirement to play in Brazil had irked him. In all fairness, Terry and Gary Cahill had been tremendous at the heart of Chelsea’s defence all season, so calls for his return, although quite controversial, weren’t unjust.

However, judging by Cahill and Jagielka’s performance against Peru – despite the pair facing a pretty toothless attack – there really should be no need for the very divisive Terry in Brazil. Cahill and Jagielka were solid, dependable and reliable, and were very economical with the ball – something of which England will require during the World Cup finals. Both completed 100 per cent of their passes in the opening 45 minutes and each scored in England’s routine win over the South Americans.

Adam Lallana is ahead of Ross Barkley in Hodgson’s plans

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Much was made over Ross Barkley’s inclusion in Roy Hodgson’s provisional 30-man England squad. The Everton midfielder had enjoyed a stellar Premier League campaign, with the majority believing that a call-up was the least that Barkley deserved.
The all-action, skilful midfielder with a turn of pace and an eye for goal is tipped to be England’s next big star – speculation suggesting that future England teams will be moulded around the 20-year-old. And, before England’s friendly against Peru, eyes were on Hodgson’s starting XI, with fans eager to see who would be given the nod in midfield.

It’s hard not to think that the teamsheet for the clash against the South Americans is what Hodgson would like to start with against Italy on June 14, and unfortunately for Barkley, it does not look good. The more consistent Adam Lallana was given a starting berth, and the Southampton man performed superbly throughout – perhaps securing his place in England’s World Cup starting XI.

That said, if anybody can play their way into Hodgson’s plans, it’s Barkley. But being afforded just four minutes of playing time at the end of the friendly clash really won’t do the Evertonian’s hopes much good.

Peru should ALWAYS wear their home kit. ALWAYS!

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Obviously, Peru’s white home kit would have clashed with that of England’s at Wembley, but the South American nation should do everything in their power to wear their famous home strip at every possible opportunity. White, with a red sash, the Peru team of the 1970s were renowned for their incredibly stylish kit. It is said that the late Malcolm Allison was so impressed with their strip that, as manager, he introduced a sash kit at Manchester City and then at Crystal Palace. Peru’s changed red strip against England just didn’t quite cut it…

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