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England U21s -- Strength in depth

Tactics And Analysis 7 days ago
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Jun 7, 2014

Physical play frustrates Gerrard

England captain Steven Gerrard was far from happy with Honduras' approach to their 0-0 friendly draw in Miami.

Wild storms off the pitch appeared on it too as a number of Honduras' players left their mark on England's players.

None of Roy Hodgson's men were injured, but the tactics, combined with a 45-minute storm delay, left Gerrard unhappy.

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"I think if you look at the chances we had the better, but we're quite frustrated," he told ITV.

"I'm quite frustrated. I thought the ref was poor, the game was interrupted, there was a big one in the first half and they were doing stupid fouls. There was no rhythm, we're frustrated but relieved at no injuries.

"I thought there were some horrific tackles for a friendly. I got caught with a bad one."

Referencing when Daniel Sturridge, lying on the grass, had a ball slammed into his chest, Gerrard added: "I don't understand refs seeing balls slammed into players' chests... It's a clear red card.

"But we came through with no injuries. We're frustrated, but we got a clean sheet and no injuries."

Honduras were eventually reduced to 10 men when Brayan Beckeles was sent off, but England could not break them down.

"I thought we were just about to slice through them and it was a great relief for them when the rain came," goalkeeper Joe Hart said. "We had to do it (the break), but we came out and got on with it."

Hodgson tried to be more diplomatic and did not talk as openly about the Hondurans' approach.

"They were quite physical," he said. "It was a real stop-start game, one of the most frustrating I've been involved in for a long time. We had a long stoppage, I thought we dealt with it and in the second half it was attack v defence.

"They got their men behind the ball and we didn't take our chances. We attempted to make them but this is a game I will soon forget.

"I will take the draw and that we got away without injuries and that we have experience against Central American opposition."

Hodgson also offered positive news about the fitness of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

A knee injury suffered against Ecuador on Wednesday looked to have ended the Arsenal man's World Cup hopes, but Hodgson said: "It's time for the real thing now.

"Everyone is fit. Oxlade-Chamberlain is making good progress. I think he'll make the tournament without a shadow of a doubt."

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