Paul Scholes has urged Italy’s Group D opponents England to play at the World Cup in the same manner as Liverpool last season.
The Anfield club came close to winning the Premier League title in 2013-14 with a more expansive style of play and, with several of that team in Roy Hodgson’s squad for Brazil, there is an opportunity for the Three Lions, says one of their former midfielders.
“It would be refreshing for England to adopt Liverpool’s attacking mentality in Brazil. Really go for it,” Scholes has written for Paddy Power this week.
“That means certainly four, and possibly five, Liverpool players in the England starting XI against Italy on June 14.
“South Africa in 2010 was so negative with boring draws. Nothing seemed to happen. England fans, and myself as an England fan, would rather 3-3 games than dull, 0-0 draws.
“I’d love to see Roy be brave enough to play like Liverpool (or Manchester United teams of the past).
“The reports I’m hearing now from the international set-up are very positive and while I still doubt Roy Hodgson will start with such an attacking Liverpool-style approach, I’d love to see it.
“Much has been said already about the Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge partnership for the club. But Steven Gerrard, Sturridge and Raheem Sterling can offer a huge goal threat playing together for England.”
Both England and Italy will also have to contend with Liverpool forward Luis Suarez, should he recover from knee surgery in time for Uruguay.
“He’s a nuisance. Last season his chance conversion improved beyond anyone’s expectations. He didn’t seem as selfish.
“Playing against him, he never lets you rest and reminds me of Carlos Tevez whom I played with at United.
“How do you stop Suarez? Well, I have one or two ideas…”
Scholes, however, does see a vulnerability to England’s set-up, if Steven Gerrard does not stay fit.
“Gerrard has adjusted his game superbly, very much like I did. He is likely to be asked to do a similar job in this England team to his ‘quarterback’ role at Liverpool.
“However, not bringing Michael Carrick is a mistake. If there’s an injury to Gerrard nobody jumps out to replace him, assuming Roy considers the Liverpool approach.
“I don’t see Henderson, Frank Lampard or Jack Wilshire playing Gerrard’s role. My opinion at this moment is that England’s success in the group stages hinges on Gerrard staying fit.”