England defender Gary Cahill says Roy Hodgson’s six changes were not to blame for the side’s inability to break down Slovakia on Monday.
“We had the ball constantly. We just didn’t quite have that cutting edge to open them up,” said Cahill, who led England until Wayne Rooney came on.
“It wasn’t to be. But we should have won the game.”
The Chelsea centre-back added: “In games like that, you need something a little bit special – someone to shoot from outside the box or create something, which we nearly did.”
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Hodgson has faced criticism for the number of alterations he made to the starting line-up, with former England striker Gary Lineker saying before the match he felt rotation was “a hindrance”.
However, the England manager feels too much has been made of the impact the changes had on the team.
“What would necessarily have changed? Had Wayne (Rooney) started, would he have scored the goals the others missed from his left half position?” said Hodgson.
“Wayne and Dele Alli and Harry Kane came on and we still did not take the chances.
“But the ‘six changes’ [debate] amuses me. We finished the game against Wales with Jamie Vardy and Daniel Sturridge up front and people said that was positive. And now it suddenly becomes ‘six changes’ with those two starting. It was four changes from the side which finished the Wales game.
“If we’d won this game people would have said we didn’t miss those we’d left out, and when we don’t they say the team selection is wrong.”