England will not scare anyone – Shearer

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Euro 2016
Host: France Dates: 10 June to 10 July
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC TV, BBC Radio, the BBC Sport website and app. Live text commentary on every game on BBC Sport website.

England manager Roy Hodgson says he does not fear anyone in the knockout stages, which is fair enough, but I do not see any teams being scared of playing us either.

I do not want to be too negative but we have had three games at Euro 2016 so far and we were held by Russia, who are the worst team in the tournament, we beat Wales with a last-minute goal and we could not score against Slovakia.

I have not changed my mind about what I said on BBC One after the Slovakia game on Monday – I don’t think Roy knows his best XI, or his best system, and that is where we are struggling.

It is not a total disaster finishing second in Group B, because we can still get a favourable tie depending on who is runner-up in Group F out of Portugal, Austria, Iceland and Hungary.

Group B final standings<!–

But, whoever we are up against, we are going to have to improve. Roy says we are ready to give someone a hiding, and I hope we do, but we are going to have to click in front of goal pretty soon or the worst will happen.

We are in the same half of the draw as Germany, Spain, Italy and hosts France, who would be our likely opponents if we reach the quarter-finals, but I am not looking that far ahead.

I think this tournament is wide open, which is a big positive for England, but at the moment we should only be thinking about how we will get through the last 16.

We have not got results playing 4-3-3

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I was very surprised at the number of changes Roy made against Slovakia, because it was a chance to gather some momentum. Particularly after the way we beat Wales, another good performance and win would have set us up for the tournament.

That is gone now, though. Instead we are back to asking a lot of questions about the England team and their tactics.

My concern, especially at this stage of the competition, is we do not have a reliable system to fall back on.

We have not got results playing in a 4-3-3 formation and I think part of the problem is that we do not have the players in our squad to use it effectively.

Other than Raheem Sterling, whose confidence seemed shot to bits in the first two games, we do not have any genuine wingers – our width has to come from our full-backs.

During his 75 minutes on the pitch against Slovakia, Sturridge had three shots - one was on target and the other two were blocked<!–

Daniel Sturridge has been out there on the right of our three-man attack but he does not really want to play out there. He wants to play in the middle and be a centre-forward.

Sterling has had his chance and didn’t take it. Now we seem to be scrambling around to find a combination that works and it is all a bit confusing.

We need more guile in the final third to open teams up. Like Kyle Walker in our first two games, Nathaniel Clyne got forward well down that flank against Slovakia but they kept forcing us inside where there was no space and, in the end, we just ran out of ideas.

A midfield diamond, and any two from three up front

For our next game, in Nice on Monday, I would prefer we played a 4-2-3-1 or with a midfield diamond as it is a better fit for the players we have.

My diamond would have Eric Dier sitting, Dele Alli and Adam Lallana on the left and right, and Wayne Rooney just behind the front duo, who would be any two from Sturridge, Jamie Vardy and Harry Kane.

I called for Vardy and Sturridge to start against Slovakia – which happened, but with Sturridge on the right – and they struggled to make an impact. Whoever plays, they should both stay central.

It is ironic that, like a lot of people before the tournament, I was worried about our defence but it is our forwards who are finding things hard at the moment. It is just not happening for them.

Passing and possession counts for nothing without goals

England lacked potency in attack against Slovakia<!–

We have seen a lot of teams at this tournament sitting very deep, especially in the final round of group games where they have been looking for a point to get through.

When you get to the knockout stage at a major finals, things are often very different but the standard at this expanded finals is not very high and some of the weaker teams will make it.

A lot of them are defensive-minded and, having seen England play they will probably be thinking they will stay deep, because we will not break them down.

If we can score a goal, that all changes, which is why we have to be more clinical when we do open teams up.

It is all well and good to say we have been dominating games in terms of possession and passing but if you do not score then that means nothing, as was proved by Leicester in the Premier League last season.

England at Euro 2016
Opposition England possession Shots for and against
Russia 52% 15-6
Wales 70% 20-8
Slovakia 60% 29-4

There have been some positives – our best three players so far have been Walker, Rooney and Dier, who I thought was superb with his range of passing against Slovakia.

But, in terms of positions, they are a full-back and two midfielders – one of them holding – which sort of sums up where England’s problems have been in this tournament – in attack.

Alan Shearer was speaking to BBC Sport’s Chris Bevan in France.

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