Football: It's Full-Backs to the Wall as Mac Gambles; JAMIE AND PHIL SET OFF ON WRONG FOOT
STEVE McCLAREN is taking a major gamble on Aaron Lennon to save his Euro 2008 qualification campaign - but that is not the risk which England fans should be worried about.
The dilemma over the full-backs is the major concern. By playing Phil Neville at right-back and Jamie Carragher at left-back McClaren seems to be asking for trouble, and that is the last thing his team needs.
Neville is a better left-back than Carragher, who is much more comfortable down the right. And it is those little tactical problems which have unhinged England in the past in these sort of fixtures.
McClaren has been hit by injuries but needs to minimise the changes and number of players out of position.
Lennon has made his name down the right and deserves his chance. By starting him on left flank today, however, there may be a temptation for the lad to come inside.
Carragher will also be tempted to look inside as well. So suddenly England do not appear to be very well balanced.
Phil Neville is a stop-gap leftback but has played there for England before and, from a defensive point of view, can do a job in Israel.
Neither full-back will be pushing on or overlapping in the way that Ashley Cole or Gary Neville do and defending will be their overriding responsibility.
But if Carragher was down the right it would give him the chance to link up with his Liverpool team-mate Steven Gerrard and the pair have a good understanding.
To take two players and play them out of position could have a major destabilising effect.
I like the idea of picking Lennon - but he deserves a chance to establish himself and stay in the team. There is little point in putting him in for one game and then dropping him again.
To get into a rhythm players need a few games, just as Joe Cole had on the left-hand side for England.
It took Cole a long while to settle on the international stage, yet his long-term injury has now revealed how much England miss him. It also illustrates the value of sticking with a player.
Lennon has pace, likes to run at players and put them under pressure. He can also provide some versatility, with his ability to play on both flanks and through the middle. When he joins Wayne Rooney and Andy Johnson up front, England will have a good attacking trio and I like the look of the midfield as well.
Gerrard can be hugely influential down the right while Owen Hargreaves' return to the team is good news for England and Frank Lampard, who will have more licence to get forward. …