HomeEuro 2024EnglandStephen Warnock: Tactical Change Needed for England Frontline

Stephen Warnock: Tactical Change Needed for England Frontline

Why Ollie Watkins Should Play Alongside Harry Kane: Insights from Stephen Warnock

A Dynamic Duo: Watkins and Kane

Former England defender Stephen Warnock has recently shared his thoughts on England’s lineup for their Euro 2024 semi-final against the Netherlands. Speaking to BetVictor, Warnock expressed his belief that Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins should join Harry Kane up front for the crucial match.

“I’d personally like to see someone alongside Harry Kane in the striker position, even if that changes the formation and the setup behind him,” said Warnock. He argues that Watkins’ pace and ability to stretch defenders would provide Harry Kane with more room to operate effectively. Considering Watkins’ impressive performance last year and his current form, Warnock believes he is the obvious choice.

Warnock further explains, “I’m a fan of Ivan Toney too, but with him and Kane up front together, everything would be in front of you as a defender, which is a nice thing to have. Pace always hurts teams and provides a danger for any player, so I’d go for Watkins against the Netherlands.”

The Kane Conundrum

The role of Harry Kane in the England squad has always been pivotal, and Warnock acknowledges the challenge in making decisions regarding the star striker. “The Kane situation is a tough one because of his goals and his reputation and creativity,” he said. Warnock suggests that if Kane’s performance issues stem from fitness problems, it would be easier to justify dropping him. However, if it’s a matter of form, Gareth Southgate will likely remain patient, hoping Kane’s brilliance will eventually shine through.

Photo: IMAGO

Saka’s Stellar Campaign and Future Potential

Stephen Warnock also commented on Bukayo Saka’s contributions to the England squad. After Saka scored the equaliser against Switzerland, there has been considerable buzz around his performances. Warnock considers Saka to be arguably England’s most important player but sees untapped potential in the young winger.

Photo: IMAGO

“He might be England’s most important player,” Warnock stated. “There was a lot made about his performance in the first game, but I personally didn’t think he was outstanding against Serbia. There was probably a bit of a fanfare over him because he was the one player that did okay. He’s an outstanding player, but I think there’s more to come from him.”

The Arsenal Influence

Drawing comparisons with Saka’s club performances, Warnock highlighted the different dynamics at Arsenal and the national team. “If you watch him play for Arsenal, they give him the ball and run away from him so he has space to have a go at defenders. If Saka is in a 1v1 against a defender with 10 or 15 yards of space either side of him, he’s likely going to beat him, but when you make that area of the pitch compact and tight for him, his touch needs to be immaculate and he’s less likely to be effective.”

Despite these challenges, Warnock praised Saka’s determination and impact on the pitch. “He’s probably been the one player who has tried to take things by the scruff of the neck and make things happen and he’s been the standout performer of England’s attacking players.”

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