Captain most effective in central midfield...Tottenham Hotspur boss Harry Redknapp believes England's hopes of reaching the last 16 of World Cup 2010 hinge on whether Steven Gerrard reverts back to his favoured central midfield role.
The Three Lions slumped to a 0-0 draw against Algeria on Friday night, and their hopes of reaching the knockout stages of the competition are now hanging in the balance.
Fabio Capello’s side were heavily criticised for their lacklustre display and Redknapp has joined in the support of deploying captain Steven Gerrard in a more central role.
"Suddenly Joe Cole has become this big thing, everyone’s saying he has to be in the side,” Redknapp told Eurosport-Yahoo!.
“But he couldn’t get in Chelsea’s team for most of the year, with injuries and not simply getting picked, and they let him go when they could have kept him.
“It’s like Gareth Barry - suddenly he’s vital. He’s a decent player but you’re putting Steven Gerrard on the left and he’s a world-class central midfielder.
“Stevie [Steven Gerrard] needs to play centrally, and he needs to play in there ahead of Frank Lampard - but with a sitting midfielder.
"That means you need to play 4-3-3 with two wide of Wayne Rooney up there on his own, with maybe Joe Cole as one of them.
“That way you get the best out of Lampard - who plays in that formation every week at Chelsea and scores so many goals - and Gerrard, who can come up to support Wayne [Rooney].”
Redknapp also feels that Aston Villa's Emile Heskey should be dropped from the starting line-up, unsurprisingly to make way for either of his Spurs duo, Peter Crouch or Jermain Defoe.
“If you are going to keep two up front, you need to change Wayne’s partner because [Emile] Heskey, for all his honest work, had a poor game against Algeria and cannot score goals,” he added.
“You would either use Peter Crouch or Jermain Defoe, with Crouch holding the ball up but able to score too, and Defoe a natural finisher.”
Redknapp is hopeful of seeing a strong Spurs’ presence in the England starting line-up, as Jamie Carragher is suspended for the crunch Group C Slovenia game, although he believes Matthew Upson will get the nod ahead of Michael Dawson.
"Listen - if [Fabio Capello] starts with [Michael] Dawson and not [Matthew] Upson then why was Dawson dropped from the 23 in the first place?," he added.
"He obviously thinks Upson is better than him. If he picks Dawson everyone will be confused - it’s a bit like when Trevor Sinclair was sent home in 2002 but came back after an injury and ended up playing all the games."
England face Slovenia on Wednesday in a crunch showdown, with only a win ensuring their passage to the knockout stages.
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