GUS Poyet believes Roy Hodgson’s England are on the verge of an exciting new era – but he’s not sure success will arrive in time for this year’s World Cup finals.
The Sunderland head coach watched England’s stirring, if unlucky, performance against Italy in their opening fixture of the finals – the Three Lions narrowly losing out 2-1 to the Azzurri after an exciting and encouraging performance.
And Poyet predicted bright things ahead for England’s young guns, even if he says the big question remains whether or not they can do it in this particular tournament.
The Uruguayan said: “If it does gel for England, you have youth, pace, power – you’ve got what you need to play in the World Cup.
“The problem is, can the England players do it in three weeks?
“We normally say as managers: ‘No. We need time’. It’s like a new team’.
“I know there is Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard, but the others are very, very young and it depends on how they adapt.
“England do have the opportunity to build something with this youth.
“England, in four years’ time, will be playing whatever type of football is good with these players. If you go out on penalties, then don’t worry because these players are going to be in an incredible position with skills and experience in four years’ time.”
England now head into a game against Poyet’s home country, Uruguay, in Sao Paulo on Thursday (8pm kick-off) which is crucial to both nations’ hopes of advancing beyond the group stage.
The pressure is arguably even greater on Uruguay, whose surprise 3-1 loss to Costa Rica puts them at a disadvantage in terms of goal difference.
But Poyet has warned that England could find it impossible to get through Uruguay’s massed, defensive ranks, while pointing out the South American side possess two of the most dangerous strikers in world football.
“Our new system is 8-2!” he said.
“You have Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani up front and then there is the rest.
“Uruguay have proper defenders – that’s what they do.
“We’re going to make it extremely hard for England, really hard and then give the ball to the ones who make a difference when it matters.
“The team know they need to work for Suarez and Cavani.
“They will die, running, tackling, whatever they need to do for each other to give the ball to Suarez and Cavani.
“Uruguay have been playing the same way, with the same manager for a long time and that’s a big advantage.
“The Spanish for parking the bus? Well, we say the same – Estancionar el autobus.
“I think it’s a way of playing football.
“There is something with Uruguay and maybe with Italy, too, that gets results like this.
“It’s a system, like it or not and it works. It worked in the Confederations Cup, the World Cup qualifiers and the Copa America.”