GK: Joe Hart (7)
Made several good saves with England unnecessarily patchy at the back. Showed great composure in one-on-ones but was not always comfortable in a crowded box and will demand better protection in Brazil.
DR: Glen Johnson (5)
Had little to do defensively and made the occasional decent run. Responsible for a major blunder on 62 minutes, spared by a Jagielka tackle.
DL: Leighton Baines (6)
Started off with a great interception and through-ball, the Everton man was generally dangerous and inventive in attack but occasionally out of position on the back foot.
DC: Gary Cahill (6)
The Chelsea man was hit and miss, not getting his partnership right with Jagielka but scoring a fine header for 2-0. There appears to be a communication issue between the two, neither of whom are blessed with pace. Nearly gave away a penalty, but his towering header cemented the win.
DC: Phil Jagielka (6)
A mixed night for both centre-backs, Jagielka was equally culpable as Cahill and particularly susceptible to pace. Benefited from being in the right place at the right time for his goal, but made a few saving challenges to his credit.
MC: Steven Gerrard (6)
The England captain needs to stop trying too hard. Booked for a wild challenge on the half hour, which was totally unnecessary and saw him react angrily. Otherwise controlled and clever with his distribution.
MC: Jordan Henderson (6)
Liverpool’s hugely improved midfielder had a quiet match but it is clear his role is to act as Gerrard’s minder, running the hard yards and keeping it simple. They work well together, and he is ultimately ahead of Milner in the pecking order on account of his club partnership with Gerrard.
AMR: Adam Lallana (7)
England were looking semi-engaged before his brilliant run on 19 minutes fed Sturridge, who should have scored. Switching from right midfield to a forward position, Lallana is one of the few English players who you trust when he gets the ball – never looks rushed or panicked, and is equally happy to touch and move or run with the ball. Has to start.
AML: Daniel Welbeck (6)
A typically industrious performance, but lacks the flair and form of Sterling. Is likely to be trusted against Italy because of his reputation as a big-game player and superior tactical discipline.
FC: Wayne Rooney (6)
Seemingly sacrificed to accommodate Sturridge in middle, but reasonably effective from deep. He seemed to enjoy making the play ahead of Henderson, but was only in second gear.
S: Daniel Sturridge (7)
Hit a fabulous opener on 33 minutes, a wonderful curling effort from range. Otherwise he was lively if a little short of match-touch, sometimes giving the ball away in good positions. Man of the match thanks to his act of brilliance.
Jack Wilshere (7)
Took a while to get into it, as one would expect for someone still regaining match fitness, but late on he showed a few sublime touches. Despite his injury travails, he does indeed have a purpose after all. Does not seem close to being fit, hopefully the next few weeks will be intense enough to prepare him for the rigours of jungle football
Raheem Sterling (7)
Surprisingly benched but he was immediately exciting and direct as soon as he was brought on. Give him a ball and he will run with it. A force of nature, hopefully to be trusted in Brazil.
James Milner (6)
The mixed reception he received when coming on as a late sub highlighted the ignorance of a sector of English football fans. Milner is obviously a good player, and anyone who claims otherwise should be put in the stocks.
Chris Smalling (6)
I remain to be convinced that Cahill-Jagielka is an effective centre-back pairing. It certainly lacks pace which, discounting a freakishly indifferent club season for Manchester United, Smalling does possess. You can’t help but feel his covering ability will be welcome against the likes of Uruguay.
John Stones and Ross Barkley were given brief run-outs, so are unrated. It should be noted that Barkley did go on one super run in the closing seconds, but you have to wonder why he is in the squad if he’s not going to be used. Hopefully not another Theo Walcott 2006.
- Sports & Recreation
- Gary Cahill