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England needs to play with a centre-forward - ex-Liverpool, Villa boss Houllier

Gerard Houllier believes it is in the makeup of English football for the national team to play with a tall centre-forward.

The Three Lions deployed Liverpool's Andy Carroll in that position against Sweden on Friday and it paid dividends as he and strike partner Danny Welbeck both scored in the 3-2 victory.

Ahead of tonight's clash with Ukraine, Frenchman Houllier has hinted that he would like to see Carroll again starting as he brings something different to the other teams in Group D.

"It is in their DNA and culture," Houllier told France Football.

"When they have a big tall guy, they put him up front. In France, when we have this kind of player, we put him in central defence.

"Besides, there is a tradition of long and direct play in England. A tradition of fighting and physical challenge, but also a tradition of 4-4-2.

"The idea is to associate two different registers: a big guy who can offer deepness and also play with his back towards the goal and be able to keep the ball, not to mention deviating the ball with his head to his team-mates and play the second balls.

"Then a smaller guy, more mobile, more dribbling, often more of a hunter of goals who asks more for the ball at his feet. That is what Hodgson did against Sweden with Carroll and Welbeck. That is also what I did in Liverpool for a long time with [Emile] Heskey and [Michael] Owen."

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Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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