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By ESPN Staff
Nov 20, 2007

Wenger: Five-man midfield will get England through

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has backed England to qualify for Euro 2008 with victory over Croatia and tipped Steve McClaren to achieve that success with a five-man midfield. With Michael Owen and Wayne Rooney out injured Peter Crouch is the squad's senior striker and Wenger believes he should be supported by attacking midfielders Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard, with Aston Villa's Gareth Barry playing in the holding role. Wenger, meanwhile, would also resist the temptation to play Shaun Wright-Phillips ahead of former captain David Beckham, who is searching for his 99th cap. 'He (McClaren) will change his formation, for sure,' said the Frenchman. 'And it's an important decision because I believe that's the best way to be tight defensively without losing too much of his potential going forward. 'Experience has an advantage. I personally believe he will go with Gerrard, with Lampard, and Barry and Beckham.' Chelsea midfielder Joe Cole, meanwhile, is likely to fill the remaining berth on the left of midfield. Wenger added: 'I know England have most often used 4-4-2 but I feel there could be an innovation on Wednesday. I personally think it will be 2-0.' Wenger also believes if England do win by that scoreline then McClaren, who has been the target for plenty of criticism in recent weeks, will be vindicated. 'That will put them top of their group and then you cannot say they have underachieved.'