Emile Heskey, our Sony Team Ambassador for England, tells us why he believes Roy Hodgson’s team can shake off the disappointment of their defeat by Italy in Manaus and get the better of Uruguay, Suarez and all, in Sao Paolo on Thursday.
We’ll see how fit Luis Suarez is when Uruguay name their team to play England. Obviously, if he’s less than 100 per cent they won’t name him in the starting eleven. But if he’s anywhere near fit, they will want to throw him on to be a game-changer.
Luis says he’s OK – he will say that because footballers always want to play – so time is going to tell. Whether he starts, or comes on as a substitute, he’s going to be a handful. Whatever happens with Suarez, I still think we will have a good show, and fingers crossed, we’re going to get some goals.
Roy Hodgson has said he was happy with the performance against Italy so I don’t expect any changes against Uruguay. I don’t expect Wayne Rooney to be dropped and I think the manager will continue with Rooney, Daniel Sturridge and Danny Welbeck because of what he’s already said. I’ve still got faith in the lads to get us through this game and out of the group.
It’s going to be a tight match, though, probably with a one-goal winning margin. It’s also going to be tough because Uruguay will want to put on a good show after their result against Costa Rica. We’re going to have two sides going for it.
We’ve got our own striker who could come off the bench and change the game – Rickie Lambert. Personally, I think he should have come on against Italy. It was crying out for him to come on and see how they could deal with him. He has goals him in and I was very frustrated that we didn’t give him a try.
There are some lessons we can learn from the Italy match. I was disappointed that we gave them so much more space than I expected us to. We didn’t get close enough to Pirlo, you’ve got to nullify him and we didn’t do that. Having got back to 1-1, I thought we would have figured that out but we didn’t.
I think the weather played a big part in everything too. It looked like we were getting tired and the cramp was setting in for some of the players. The plusses for me were Raheem Sterling, who was outstanding, and Sturridge. Another big plus was Ross Barkley coming on. He looked lively and he looks like he could change a game.
The minus was the tempo of the game – you can’t play at a quick tempo the whole time, you have to know when to slow it down like Pirlo did for Italy. We’ve had a good performance, it just wasn’t sharp enough. Now we need to get sharper.