Five Things We Learned From The England Versus Ghana Friendly
3) Ghana are as impressive as they were in the World Cup – in particular Asamoah Gyan
The support for Ghana certainly made their presence felt at Wembley on Tuesday night, bringing a lively atmosphere to a game that was all the better for their strength in numbers. However, their team also put in a performance to match the support, always looking to get forward and be positive in their play. This is evidenced by the five Premiership players in their squad, the most notable of which being Asamoah Gyan, who many would agree has been a credit to the league since his arrival after the World Cup.
He was consistently the most dangerous player in Ghana’s team, throughout the game he looked to create chances and finding the energy to continually pester the English defence. His attempts to provide the fireworks were admirable, in reference to his ambitious 40 yard effort that was well hit, but ultimately straight at Joe Hart. It was only fitting that Gyan provided the late equaliser, a goal of real quality, managing to find his way past the England back four, and curling a sweet strike past Hart, sparking celebratory scenes from the fans. The most startling statistic was that Gyan managed twice as many shots as the Welsh team from the previous Saturday.
4) Ashley Young is an impressive prospect in the England team
It is early days for Capello’s new look set up for the England squad. However, it is fair to say that certain players have revelled in it so far. The most notable of these is Ashley Young, again impressing in his role and provide a constant threat on the right, with much of the play looking to go through him. Admittedly, it is far to early to say whether or not this will continue to be a successful inclusion in the squad, but with his impressive displays for Villa (potentially paving the way for a move elsewhere) and the bright displays we have witnessed in the last couple of game, then certainly there is a lot of promise. Of course there are other players that have impressed, Darren Bent for example, and some of the younger members of the squad like Jack Wilshere will have revelled in the opportunity to get playing time, particularly when said displays have been positive.
5) The message is clear – 4-3-3 is the way
With all the negative press, one would be forgiven for thinking that Capello was the worst manager on the planet, whose every move is scrutinised until it can be made into a decision of complete idiocy. Indeed, some of his decision making has been less than stellar, particularly for a manager of such experience who has seen great success in both Italy and Spain. Despite these mistakes, he has also clearly taken some new messages on board in order to correct the mistakes of the last year.
For example, the acknowledgement that changes to the build up to a major tournament will be in order, such as giving the players a break to refresh before the European Championships. Another is the ditching os his trusted 4-4-2 formation in order to adopt a more universally accepted 4-3-3. This is a system more familiar with far more of the members of the squad and as such playing a familiar formation is likely to allow them to adjust to playing for the national team more faster with a greater recognition of the role they play in the team.
Certainly on the evidence of the last couple of games, the signs look good, although the role that Wayne Rooney has to play in this is still a point that needs a solution. As always with such matters, time will tell, and the results will become clear.