England may rue not bringing on Rickie Lambert for the closing stages of their World Cup loss to Italy, says Peter Taylor.
Mario Balotelli’s second-half header consigned Roy Hodgson’s men to a 2-1 defeat in Manaus on Saturday night after Italy’s Claudio Marchisio had opened the scoring and Daniel Sturridge swiftly equalised.
Hodgson summoned Ross Barkley, Jack Wilshere and Adam Lallana from the bench in Amazonia but former England manager Taylor says the 66-year-old should have given Lambert some minutes.
“I thought we could have done with a big centre-forward at the end,” said Taylor, whose solitary game in charge of his country was a 1-0 defeat to Italy in Turin.
“Italy were getting everyone behind the ball and became very difficult to break down at which point we could have been thinking: ‘Let’s just cross it rather than try and create something’.
“But we weren’t able to do that because we didn’t have a big striker on the park so we weren’t going to win a header anyway.”
Yet Taylor reckons England should not be too dejected by their reverse against the Italians – World Cup winners in 1934, 1938, 1982 and 2006 – and can enter this week’s crunch clash versus Uruguay with confidence.
And with the South Americans stunned 3-1 by Costa Rica in their Group D opener and in dire need of points themselves, Taylor feels England could find it easier to create goal-scoring opportunities during Thursday’s clash than they did on Saturday.
“Italy scored two very good goals and they are a good team – Andrea Pirlo is unbelievable and I might try and get him to sign a short-term deal at my club!” said the Gillingham boss.
“There were some positives for England and it wasn’t a terrible display by any means, but we need to be better in the final third.
“The good thing about the Uruguay result is that they now need to get something from the game with England so it will be a very open game and not as cagey as the Italy one.”
However, ex-Aston Villa midfielder Lee Hendrie believes England should enter their Sao Paulo showdown against the 2010 semi-finalists without Wayne Rooney in their starting line-up.
Manchester United man Rooney, playing on the left wing, crossed for Sturridge to score in Manaus but was outshone over the course of the 90 minutes by Liverpool youngster Raheem Sterling and, in Hendrie’s view, also substitute Barkley.
“Wayne is world class but things aren’t quite working at the moment so I would leave him out of the next game and play Barkley, who was superb against Italy,” said Hendrie.
“I think that if Rooney plays we need him up top creating things and slipping Sturridge in, not getting back defending, but his confidence is low at the moment and we can’t keep catering to him.
“I don’t think Hodgson will make that change, though.”