Tony Adams made it clear that I was concerned about England’s defense of Iran.

It’s no surprise that England gave a spectacular performance against Iran.

It is hard to not love the approach they took and how quickly they got the ball rolling.

England's defence failed to keep out Iran despite scoring plenty up the other end


England scored plenty of points, but Iran was not stopped by England’s defense.Credit: Getty
Tony Adams thinks England still have work to do in defence


Tony Adams believes England has more work ahead of it in defenseCredit to Louis Wood

Bukayo Saka, Jude Bellingham and others did exactly what I had hoped. They’re mature teenagers.

However, it’s the way of a defender like myself to add a note of caution.

I don’t want to be a doom-monger but there were situations, against what was a poor Iranian team, which would seriously concern me against much stronger opposition.

While we did a great job moving forward, and were able to benefit from the crosses of Luke Shaw’s and Kieran Trippier’s, I am concerned about the gap that is left when fullbacks attack forward.

When you play four in defence, you can leave the centre-backs exposed — and it is what happened for Iran’s first goal.

We aren’t making the right plan when we face France, as we should be.

Here’s what I think we should do. We need to ensure that Shaw doesn’t fly down the wing, and that there is someone behind him.

Declan Rice, defensive midfielder and Declan Rice are moved to the full-back.

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You then forget about a No 10 supporting the attack and make a shape with what I would call two No 8s to shore up midfield.

Granit Xhaka is often called upon to defend Arsenal when Kieran Tierney leaves support for the attack.

When I was playing I would make a move and Patrick Vieira, Emmanuel Petit or I would come in to fill my spot.

This is what I’d do if I were England coach Steve Holland.

I don’t feel it is too much of a concern at the moment because I reckons it’s a given that we get through the group and the last 16.

That’s not being cocky about England’s chances, it’s just this team is too good to be found out before then.

But, against France, it will be a big issue — Kylian Mbappe will ruthlessly expose any weaknesses like that.

I recall Don Howe, who was working out how to handle Holland’s attack flair and the Euro 96 tournament. It was well before our due date.


Two games were played before we reached the last match of the group. We beat them 4-1.

His meticulous planning was his forte. To be world champions, we have to consider all scenarios and it is a problem that we don’t have a left-footed centre-back.

This is the reason I can understand Gareth Southgate’s decision to go with three centre backs. He wants additional insurance because he recognizes his weakness.

On Monday, I made the point that I’d prefer Declan Rice to Harry Kane as captain because forwards sometimes need replacing if it’s not happening for them in front of goal or they pick up an injury.

Kane was injured in the match against Iran and we were able test a replacement, Callum Wilson.

Wilson’s speed on the right was a bonus in this win. He then made a nice cutback to Jack Grealish to score the sixth goal.

Wilson can feel confident, and that this World Cup is his home. Gareth is now aware that he can add another string to his bow in case Kane gets hurt.

Grealish’s goal and Marcus Rashford’s substitute for Grealish showed that we don’t have to worry too much about choosing the right starters among such an array of talents.

There is much to do in defense.

Conceding two against Oran was not on Southgate's script


Southgate didn’t intend to concede two against Oran.Credit to AP

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