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World Cup 2018: 3 players who hold the key to further success for England in Russia

England dazzled against Panama in Nizhny Novgorod.
England dazzled against Panama in Nizhny Novgorod.

England has impressed at the 2018 FIFA World Cup thus far. They have scored eight goals in their opening two games against Tunisia and Panama. That is as many as the number of goals they scored in their previous ten World Cup games prior to Russia.

This ridiculous statistic epitomizes just how well England have done so far in this tournament. Gareth Southgate has adopted a bold new attacking set-up for the team and it has worked well.

However, there have been some flaws in the system. Those flaws almost cost England in their first game against Tunisia as a last minute Harry Kane header saved the day for The Three Lions.

England was dominant throughout the game and played some attractive football. But the finishing was problematic, particularly from wide forwards Raheem Sterling and Jesse Lingard. The Three Lions were far more clinical against Panama as they fired in five goals before half-time.

The wing-back system has greatly benefited England but might need more refinement as they prepare to face stronger opposition. Kyle Walker should continue to settle into his role as the right part of the back three played by Southgate.

England still needs to be more solid defensively, but the overall structure of the team has been determined pretty well.

There are a few key players who stick the team together and have already made a massive impact at the World Cup. These three players are the most important to any success that England will have at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.


#3 Jordan Henderson

Jordan Henderson
Jordan Henderson

England's system enables a lot of forwarding movements from different players. In order to maintain the shape and balance of the team, some players need to stay back. Their defence is not the strongest in the world and could do with some extra protection in front of them.

Jordan Henderson fits that role perfectly. He has matured into an influential player for both club and country. He captained Liverpool to the Champions League final as he commanded games as the centre-piece of a makeshift midfield three.

Henderson keeps the ball and recycles possession with relative ease. His job is to stay back and help out the defence while other players move forward. Midfield partner Dele Alli is one of the threats for England and he is allowed to run into those forward positions knowing that there is sufficient cover in the form of the Reds captain.

Henderson also plays the occasional forward diagonal ball, which has pinpoint accuracy much like Steven Gerrard. He is responsible to get attacks started for The Three Lions, along with the likes of Kyle Walker and Harry Maguire.

Henderson gets unfairly criticised for the way he plays. Most of it stems from the fact that he recycles possession by passing sideways a bit too often. But that is what he is meant to do. Keep possession and then get the ball forward if you find an opening.

It is an extremely difficult position to play in, and Henderson is doing it well for both Liverpool and England. He is the one who stays back and lets the other players move forward. He also has a good eye for goal.

#2 Kieran Trippier

Kirean Trippier
Kieran Trippier

Some of the most important players of England's team this year are the wing-backs, as they are in every team that plays three at the back. They are the ones that move up and down the pitch to make things happen, both offensively and defensively.

Ashley Young does a decent job, but perhaps England could do with less of the cutting in to cross. Danny Rose seems a much better fit for them in the big games. On the other hand, Kieran Trippier has done a fantastic job for The Three Lions at this World Cup so far.

He has pace, defensive awareness and good attacking ability, which is everything you want in a wing-back.

The former Burnley full-back has made the right-back spot his own at Tottenham Hotspur after Kyle Walker left for Manchester City. He has done an incredible job and looks set to continue it.

He gets in those positions with relative ease and gets back with no problems whatsoever. This enables England to adopt a more wide approach in an attacking sense. Trippier and Young are both phenomenal crossers of the ball and get the delivery right, more often than not.

Perhaps the most crucial contribution to England made by Trippier in this World Cup has been his set pieces. He has assumed the responsibilities to take corners and free kicks, doing a pretty solid job at them.

His excellent delivery has caused immense success for The Three Lions in their first two games. No fewer than three goals were scored from corners taken by Trippier. The presence of the likes of John Stones, Harry Maguire and Harry Kane gives Trippier a higher chance of success. Nevertheless, he has done a fantastic job for the Three Lions so far in this campaign.

#1 Harry Kane

Harry Kane
Harry Kane

You could argue that Raheem Sterling and Jesse Lingard are more influential in the creative department, as they are the ones that spark the opportunities for England. However, these opportunities need to be finished.

More often than not, it is Harry Kane who does the finishing. He is as lethal as anybody in the penalty box and only needs a sniff at goal in order to score. He is always present in favourable positions which make him easy to find for his teammates. Kane has been doing this for years and he is finally firing for England.

He has already made his mark in Russia. An all-important brace by him against Tunisia rescued England from their usual mediocre draw, while Kane grabbed an opportunistic hat-trick in the 6-1 thumping of Panama.

He scored two expertly taken penalties, while a Kieran Trippier shot hit his heel on the way in. This is exactly what Kane has sought out to do in Russia. He has taken over the captaincy duties for The Three Lions and is their clear talisman. Kane is currently the top scorer at the World Cup with 5 goals.

Ever since 2014-15, Kane has been pulling off stunning feats in front of goal. He is currently the best striker in the Premier League and finished second to the record breaking Mo Salah on the top scorer list.

The Spurs front-man is leading the line brilliantly for England and is their most influential player. He will be the key to any success The Three Lions have from here on now.

After dazzling the Premier League with a bucket load of goals, Kane looks set to continue starring on the global stage of football and make his country proud.

If Harry Kane continues his rich vein of goal-scoring form, football could very well be coming home.

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Edited by Anthony Akatugba Jr.
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