Real Madrid midfield, Xavi Alonso, has today claimed that one of the reasons England failed to impress during this World Cup was because Michael Carrick was below Chelsea’s Frank Lampard and Manchester City’s Gareth Barry in the midfield pecking order.

“Gerrard is a great player. He inspires and leads, he is very strong and is capable of making players around him raise their game, but he also needs players alongside to bring the best out of him,” said Alonso. “England missed a player like Carrick in the midfield, somebody who knows how to be in the right place at the right time. Gerrard gains a lot from having a player like Carrick as a partner, somebody who provides the back-up he needs to be free and bring his power to bear decisively in a game.”