England have a dearth of creative midfielders

Gareth Southgate of England sings the National Anthem with his coaching staff ahead of the International Friendly match
Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Southgate even talked about Paul Gascoigne being the only truly game-changing midfielder that England have produced in his lifetime.

Need more than just set-pieces

A lack of creativity is always going to be a massive problem at the top of the international game. You can only get so far by being well drilled and good on set-pieces. The Three lions thrived on their ability to score from set-pieces at the World Cup.

However, in the semi-final against Croatia when they needed somebody to unlock the door from midfield, they came up short. The problem is that as Southgate says, England have struggled to produce that sort of game-changing playmaker for a long time.

Wilshere and Barkley failed so far

Two players who could provide that sort of creative spark for the Three Lions are West Ham’s Jack Wilshere and Chelsea’s Ross Barkley. For differing reasons, neither has lived up to the hype surrounding them since their teen years.

Both now in their mid-twenties and talked about as the solution to what seems like an age-old problem, the pair has struggled to meet expectations.

Wilshere has spent a decade at Arsenal struggling to stay fit long enough to find his form. Meanwhile, Barkley has only just really broken into the Chelsea first-team squad after a move to Stamford Bridge from Everton in January.

Neither has played well enough to justify a place in Gareth Southgate’s recent squad for the Three Lions game against Spain, which they lost 2-1 on Saturday, and Tuesday night’s friendly with Switzerland.

The pair will have to make a major improvement to force their way back into the Three Lions reckoning in the future.

A way around the lack of creativity

Southgate now has to find a way around the lack of creativity in his team’s midfield. It will certainly not be an easy task. The team remain a threat on set-pieces, but they need more from their midfielders.

However, until England can produce a player with vision, creativity and flair, the Three Lions will be heavily reliant on their ability from those much-talked-about set-pieces for a route to goal.

Are there any players who could fill the creative void in the England team?