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World Cup 2010 - Barry suffers in England exit

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I'm not going to turn this into an analysis on England's demise, but England's 4-1 defeat to Germany laid bare many of the deficiencies and shortcomings of the England side both as a whole and on an individual basis.

And none more so than Gareth Barry. I felt that whilst he had performed adequately since coming into the side against Algeria, coming up against Mesut Ozil was of course a far stiffer test, and it needed a big game from him in helping shield the back four.

Whilst the performance of the defensive unit cannot be laid squarely on his shoulders, Barry's own deficiencies and shortcomings were exposed in the second half on Germany's third and fourth goals. 

First, a heavy touch when England were on the edge of the opposition box allowed Germany to quickly counter and put the game beyond England's reach, and then, gave the impression that he was wading through treacle with a fridge tied to his back as Ozil barely even quickened his stride to leave Barry in his wake as Germany hit their fourth.

I have been written praising Barry a number of times over the past season, and he is a case in point that he is a better player 'live' than simply watching on TV as you have a far better appreciation of his movement, positions and his ability to do the simple things very well indeed.

However, over the latter stages of 2009/10, it was apparent that there was a real lack of creativity in midfield, someone who has the ability to be a difference maker. If Roberto Mancini is intent on playing 4-4-2, then (assuming Nigel de Jong has nailed down the holding role) is Barry the answer? 

Reports continue to suggest that Yaya Toure is set to arrive, and this could well be bad news for Barry's future as Toure looks to be a far better option for that second spot alongside de Jong (who Barry will not usurp as the defensive lynchpin), unless Mancini also decides to operate on occasion with a central trio.

Barry's fellow Blue Shaun Wright-Phillips made a late appearance in the game, but understandably could make little impact in the final few minutes after being introduced.

It was interesting to see Jerome Boateng get a full ninety minutes though. Again not deployed in his natural position at left back, his qualities were evident in that he is tall, strong and good defensively but struggled at times in closing down the wide man and from the two appearances I have seen him make during the tournament, he does seem more suited to a central role than full back - interesting given the assumption was that he would slot in on the right hand side of the defence.