1) Two have to be dropped between Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge and Danny Welbeck.
The problem is their style of play does not mesh well with each other. Whilst Welbeck and Sturridge can work the channels, their best work is done in the middle. Plus, whilst Sturridge is a competent dribbler, better than Welbeck, they both can be classed as speed merchants who rely more on movement than on guile. The problem is as they search for space down the middle, they are clogging each other up. When the other drops deep into midfield to free up the attack, they are taking unnecessary touches and slowing down the attack.
This problem is compounded further when accounting for Wayne Rooney's lack of dribbling skills and poor first touch. Consequentially, he too slows down the attack further.
Ultimately, Adam Lallana, who played on the right hand side and is overall England's most creative player, is left with scraps to work with up front.
Dropping two of Rooney, Sturridge and Welbeck will give the side more cohesion going forward as each attacker has a designated role; therefore they'll be able to dovetail the way the Liverpool front three of Luis Suarez, Sturridge and Raheem Sterling have been able to do all season.
A forward line of Sturridge, Sterling and Lallana should be able to do the trick. The beauty of the trio is that they, unlike the other three can do each others jobs. Lallana is a composed finisher and if he is the furthest forward, with his quick feet he could easily draw a penalty or skip past the last defenders in a Suarez-esque fashion. It would also be easy to see Sterling falling into the number 10 position and Sturridge hanging out wide. Simply put this combination provides a varied threat as opposed to the static trio employed by Hodgson on Friday.
2) Steven Gerrard and Jordan Henderson cannot work in a midfield two.
The reason for this was the formation(s) Brendan Rodgers used during the first half of the season horribly exposed Steven Gerrard and Jordan Henderson. The 4-2-3-1 (the same formation Hodgson used yesterday) and 3-5-2, often pitted one of Gerrard and Henderson with Lucas Leiva.
When Gerrard played with Lucas, Liverpool were horribly slow at reacting to danger; when Henderson played with Lucas, Liverpool were painstakingly lacking in creativity. The full flowing football only came when Coutinho was dropped into midfield to make a midfield three. Only then was Gerrard allowed to dictate the game without worrying about his defensive position as the hardworking Coutinho/Allen and Henderson pressed further afield.
Yesterday, the duo combined their worst features to highlight why a midfield two in the modern game is becoming obsolete. Gerrard was quite pensive, whilst Henderson was forced to cover for Gerrard, in a bid not overexpose his lack of mobility.
Of all the big teams in world football playing with a midfield two, the only one's who won anything were Atletico Madrid and Manchester City. This was because their midfield duo have the increasingly rare ability of being good to exceptional in every department.
In recent years, when teams playing with a midfield two have glearing deficiencies, they tend to fall short. Liverpool under Benitez gave up too much in terms of creativity when Alonso and Mascherano played together; Matic/Mikel and Ramires/Lampard were much the same for Chelsea this season.
But perhaps the best example however, is Real Madrid under Mourinho. For years they came second in La Liga and were knocked out in the Champions League in the Semi's as Khedira and Alonso underpinned their counter attack tactics. Under Ancelotti, they switched to a midfield three and became a free-flowing attacking side; Alonso protected the defence as Di Maria and Modric connected their attacks. As we know they won the Champions League and Copa Del Rey double. Coincidence? No and Hodgson needs to follow suit.
Aside from Raheem Sterling, Ross Barkley is England's best dribbler and given his strength and energy, he should take to midfield easier than Coutinho and Di Maria did for Liverpool and Real Madrid - and they were massive successes in that position.
3) Glen Johnson is a lucky boy
Defensively he was always suspect, but now it seems his attacking ability has deserted him. Whereas once he would zip down the flank with assurity of a winger, he is now tripping over his own feet in an attempt to dribble. And his once quick pace has been replaced with a nervous jog before killing the momentum of the attack by turning back the defence.
What England fans witnessed yesterday was not an off day, it was that at the age of 29, Johnson might be regressing as a player. Luckily for him, with Richards not playing for two years; Jenkinson and Flanagan not being seen as tournament ready; Smalling and Jones not being proper full backs and his only really challenger (Walker) injured, Johnson's right back spot is the only position in the England line-up without a challenger breathing down his neck.