Former top-class campaigner COMMANDING CHIEF should score a long overdue win in today’s competitive looking overnight allowance race over 1300 metres to be contested by 13 starters at Caymanas Park.COMMANDING CHIEF last won the grade one Prime Minister’s Stakes in a titanic tussle with PERFECT NEIGHBOUR over 2000 metres on Independence Day 2014 (August 6), and although yet to win another race since, has run some useful races in defeat, even though sparingly raced.When he last competed, in open allowance company on January 23 for new trainer Spencer Chung, the eight-year-old gelding by War Marshall out of She Knows Beau ran a decent race behind the progressive filly LONG RUNNING TRAIN and CAMPESINO over a mile, finishing six lengths sixth after racing prominently in second entering the straight.Having worked well in preparation for today’s encounter and stepping down to overnight company in the process, COMMANDING CHIEF has a glorious chance of reliving past glories.MOST ACCOMPLISHEDHe is easily the most accomplished in the field, following big-race wins in the St Leger and Gold Cup when trained by Everal Francis, and with three-time champion jockey Dane Nelson sticking with the ride, the hint should be taken.Still, it won’t be a walk in the park for the veteran campaigner as he faces some very fit opponents in SHINING LIGHT, MIRACLE STAR, RED FLAG, EDISON and HOVER CRAFT, all ideally suited to the distance.The Wayne DaCosta-trained HOVER CRAFT (Omar Walker up) not only won in grade one company last season, but was second to FRANFIELD in last November’s Superstakes, and with 1300 metres not too sharp for him, is a worthy opponent. The same can be said of the Gary Griffiths-trained SHINING LIGHT, a recent winner who will love every inch of this race.However, COMMANDING CHIEF has never had it this easy in years and thus gets the vote.Other firm fancies on the 10-race programme are SUPERTRONICS (knocking at the door) to go one better in the second race; stable-companion BIG GEORGE to repeat in the third; GOLDEN GLORY in the sixth; down-in-class BOLD AVIATOR in race seven; and the speedy OPTIMUS to finally deliver in the eighth race for maiden four-year-olds and up over 1000 metres round.
This proved to be a great choice during the World Cup, as first-choice centre-backs Harry Maguire, John Stones and Kyle Walker all loved to move into midfield, while goalkeeper Jordan Pickford is one of the best in the game at playing with the ball at his feet.However, Tuesday’s friendly defeat of Switzerland showed that the only elite players in the England set-up are capable of playing this system. Jack Butland replaced Pickford in goal and was worryingly poor in possession, while James Tarkowski, the Burnley defender, came into the back three.Neither of these players are used to playing out from the back at club level in the way Stones, Walker and Maguire do, and their lack of experience showed. 2 Martin Peters, 1966 World Cup final goal scorer for England, dies aged 76 England announce another friendly to begin preparations for Euro 2020 Chelsea ready to ‘break transfer record’ to sign winger ahead of Man United Mega deal Difficult And Ashton believes Southgate’s decision to continually play this system despite it being unsuitable for a selection of his players is ‘unfair’ on said players.Speaking to the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast, Ashton said: “We’re seeing a style of play Gareth Southgate wants – he wants to play out the back – but it’s little bit unfair on some of the players where that is not the way they’ve played as they’ve grown up.“To ask a Butland or a Tarkowski who don’t and may never have played that way, to suddenly try something they are clearly uncomfortable about is a little unfair.“You’re better to play Angus Gunn who has more experience playing that way.”The Football Association has made it their plan to have all England teams learning the same style, which means from the seniors to the youngest age group playing out from defence is the order of the day.It’s a logical decision on the FA’s part, though Ashton believes the results might not be visible for another two decades.“If you go and watch youth team sides now it can be uncomfortable at times,” he continued, “because the goalkeeper does play out from the back there are a lot of mistakes so it can look embarrassing. Latest England news Southgate watches defender star in Italy amid talk of England recall scared lions How England could end up in a Euro 2020 group of death with France and Portugal REJUVENATED preparation info Butland was shaky throughout England’s defeat of Switzerland Southgate introduced a 3-5-2 system in the run-up to the World Cup Dean Ashton believes Gareth Southgate’s insistence on playing out of the back is ‘unfair’ for some of England’s players who are not suited to that style of play.Since deciding to move forward with a three-at-the-back system, Southgate, the England manager, has made it clear he wants his side to build from the defensive zone. England’s group at Euro 2020 revealed as Southgate’s men face a familiar foe Second is best There is a Group of Death at Euro 2020 and here’s how England can avoid it confirmed GETTING READY “But it’s working towards a style for England to go towards. But I think we’re going to have to wait maybe 10, 15, 20 years to reap the benefits.“At the moment, the players we’ve got aren’t good enough and aren’t used to playing that way.” England announce Euro 2020 warm-up matches against Austria and Romania Euro 2020 explained: How it works, stadiums and dates as tournament turns 60 2 RIP LEGEND England ‘ducking out’ friendly against France before Euro 2020