England captain David Beckham has denied reports that player-power forced coach Sven-Goran Eriksson to change tactics for the World Cup enounter with Wales.
Eriksson is expected to abandon his preferred 4-4-2 formation in favour of a 4-5-1 combination with Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney playing as a lone striker and new Chelsea signing Shaun Wright-Phillips coming in on the right.
Beckham said: “This whole player-power thing has come up this week but it’s nothing to do with that.
“If the manager wants a meeting with players to discuss different formations or ways of playing he calls a meeting.”
And he added: “I think a little bit more respect has to be shown to the manager.”
Eriksson also played down the reports, stating: “Since 1976 I’ve had meetings with my players and if I don’t talk to them, who do I talk to?
“In the weeks after the Denmark match I talked to the coaching staff – Sammy Lee, Steve McClaren, Ray Clemence – almost every day.
“Then we have to of course talk to the players. I had a meeting with three of them to discuss certain things – and what we discussed I’d prefer to tell you after the game.”
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Jermain Defoe had been touted to partner Rooney, but Beckham is now expected to move into the centre with Shaun Wright-Phillips playing in a five-man midfield.
Beckham said: “It’s important to find different formations because you come up against different teams, especially when you have players out or injured.
“You have to compensate for that, so if you have to play different roles you do what the manager says.”
He added: “He discusses things with players and players appreciate that – but the final decision is down to him and that’s the way it’s always been.
“A lot was made of our last performance when we lost against Denmark, and rightly so because it wasn’t up to the level we can play at.
“We have to play better because Wales will make it hard for us – it will be a tough match.”
England defender Rio Ferdinand, meanwhile, admits Wales striker John Hartson will be “an absolute handful” for him during Saturday’s World Cup qualifier.