I know what its like in the first game of a World Cup – there is a lot of anxiety, pressure and tension – and, for all the apparent calmness in the camp, England would have been feeling that before Mondays tournament opener against Tunisia. The mood in the squad will be great now, though, following a crucial 2-1 win.
I thought England started the match really well. They used the pace in the team well, stayed on the front foot and took the upper hand. They got an early goal through Harry Kane but it should have been more. No one would have objected if they had been three or four goals up at half-time.
But if you dont take your chances it can come back to bite you, and England needed a very late winner from Kane in the end. Without that, the picture would have looked very different and Gareth Southgates men might have needed something from their final group game with Belgium. This was such an important three points.
You can only credit the spirit of the team for keeping going despite losing some control of the match in the second half. Thats all you can ask. It was good enough to win but I think this team has a lot more than they showed against Tunisia.
Perhaps England could have changed from a back three to a back four in the second half, allowing them to put an extra man in midfield, because at times Tunisia had nobody up front. You need a plan for when the opposition doesnt push; there is no point being overloaded at the back.
Jordan Henderson was Englands only designated central midfielder and against better teams he could get overrun. Its only a small thing, but England have become fixated on the back three and it would be good to be able to change to an Option B if needed.
Jordan Henderson (right) may need help in midfield against better teams (Source: Getty)
With Harry Maguire the only left-footed player in the starting XI, they lack some balance. With that in mind, Danny Rose could be a better option at left wing-back than Ashley Young, whose preference for using his right foot tended to slow down the play.
We dont have a central player in the hart of the game who is left-footed, and this is why I always wanted Jack Wilshere to be part of the squad. Its good to have variety; it will become difficult the further England get if they are always singing the same song.
Southgate should be confident enough to make a few changes for their next group match on Sunday. England are plenty good enough to beat Panama, who were well beaten 3-0 by Belgium.
Id like to see some rotation in order to give some World Cup experience to other players in this young squad. England are going to need more than 13 or 14 men if they are to go deep into this tournament.
They could start with a back four, or it could just be a few changes of personnel. I can see Rose or Eric Dier playing, or Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who looked very positive, showing good touch and awareness, when he came on against Tunisia.