England might experience some defensive changes in their friendly against Slovenia, as the primary defensive pairing of Chelsea’s Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka has sparked rumors of injury, as the duo missed training session on yesterday.
According to City, Cahill and Jagielka were two of five players which missed the training session. The other three include names such as Leighton Baines and midfielders Andros Townsend and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Absence of their primary defensive paring will leave Hodgson with only Callum Chambers, who has played his season as a right back, and Chris Smalling who has not been impressive for Manchester United thus far.
Meanwhile Cahill said that his absence was down to a ‘minor hip injury’ and the Chelsea man hailed the new diamond formation for England to keep five consecutive clean sheets.
“It’s something that we’re really proud of, from the third game in the World Cup onwards,Leading up to the World Cup we did well but the crunch games were the summer. We’ve come under a little bit of criticism so it was important we tightened that up.” Cahill said
After a poor world cup, where England crashed out even after winning a single game, the Three Lions have shown defensive stability and have not conceded goals against Costa Rica, Norway, Switzerland, San Marino and Estonia.
Cahill is convinced that the team will progress along this way and believes that his ‘nice days’ are over.
“We’ve been too nice, but that comes with experience.
“We’ve got a very young team, but that’s a big part of the game to know when to slow things down. To know not to always play from the back.
“Everybody has this philosophy of playing from the back from the keeper, but there are times to think ‘Hold on, let’s not play from the back this time, let’s kick up the front for five or 10 minutes’. he said
“It’s just managing the game really, which maybe we are doing a lot better. It’s something that has been addressed.
“It’s about just being aggressive in the game and getting tight to player. More physically than verbally.
“I don’t think the verbals help much, but certainly physically. When players are trying to hold the ball up and you’re behind them and they are thinking ‘What is this guy doing’.
“That’s probably when they know they are in a game, rather than letting them turn and things like that.
“If you see us now, we are definitely a lot harder team to play against. That is about being physical and wanting to win the ball back and being physical.
“They are the basics of defending and at the minute we are doing that really well.”
England take on Slovenia and would be looking for defensive solidity, even if Gary Cahill does not start.