Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Sven Puts the Diamond on Ice

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Sven Puts the Diamond on Ice

Article excerpt

Byline: By Mark Bradley

Sven-GUran Eriksson urged the nation to trust him as he prepared for a tactical experiment today ( just a week before the start of the Euro 2004 finals.

Diamonds are, it would seem, not necessarily forever. For the England coach will revert to a flat midfield 4-4-2 formation against Iceland in his final warm-up game.

With Steven Gerrard moving inside to partner Frank Lampard in the centre, the idea is to give Paul Scholes and David Beckham more freedom down the flanks and Wayne Rooney more space up front.

Nevertheless, the policy does come with potential flaws.

Scholes, after all, did not look comfortable on the left in Slovakia in October 2002, which sparked the original move to the diamond formation, and the lack of a natural left-sided midfielder is still keenly felt.

However, while Eriksson insisted after Tuesday's draw against Japan that the diamond would be used against France, he believes that different tactics may be required against Croatia or Switzerland.

His overall priority is to select the most in-form 11 players and then find the best tactics to suit each game.

If that smacks of indecision, so be it, although he has no worries about the French camp drawing such a conclusion from what he believes is simply expedient preparation.

"If Jacques Santini should think we are not secure in what to do or nervous, then let him believe that. If that's the case, then very good," insisted Eriksson.

"Should the country trust me to beat France? We are meeting the team ranked first in the world and I hope we get it right. We are working very hard to do so.

"Can I be trusted to pick the right team? I hope so, although there are no guarantees."

Paul Robinson will start in goal today for the first time to gain experience and Jamie Carragher has been chosen ahead of Ledley King to replace the injured John Terry.

Terry is expected to return to full training on Tuesday after a scan on his hamstring injury showed only a "very small problem". …

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