In what was possibly one of the dullest England games in recent times, which I was expecting to be honest, I will be rating England’s players in the dire 0-0 draw against Ukraine. Although it gives England a decent chance for World Cup qualification, it definitely wasn’t a “good result”. Hodgson declared that he was happy with a point, his lack of ambition is depressing. Can you imagine Del Bosque saying he would be happy with a point against someone of Ukraine’s ability? I don’t think so. Some England players need to take a serious reflection after that performance. With a performance such as that, I would be surprised if they even got to the Round of 16 in Brazil. Anyway, rant over…
GK: Joe Hart 5/10
Joe Hart carried on his run of dodgy form. He had a very shaky start, which saw him very lucky not to concede a penalty in the first 40 seconds. He improved in the second half, even though he only had one shot to save, the crosses and set-pieces that he needed to clear were carried out well. This does not clear him of the axe for the next game though, maybe slightly lucky that Ben Foster is injured at the moment.
RB: Kyle Walker 3/10
He was absolutely woeful. Anyone who thinks that he is a good right-back is probably smoking the same drugs that Walker was having earlier in the week… The fact that he is our best, fit right-back is embarrassing. He was a liability at the back, and he was regularly beaten by Ukraine’s attack. He is not generally known for his great defending, but even his attacking play was poor. He was always found out of position, and at one point in the match he was incredibly lucky to not concede a penalty. Hopefully Johnson won’t be injured for the Montenegro match.
CB: Gary Cahill 8/10
An excellent performance from the towering Chelsea centre-back. England’s man of the match. He was as solid as a brick at the back, and due to his last few performances for England, he has probably cemented his place for Brazil. Unless he makes a few calamitous mistakes in the next few games. He had to cover for a lot of Walker’s errors, which gives him the added bonus over Jagielka.
CB: Phil Jagielka 7/10
Jagielka also had a very good game, he was solid at the back for most of the match. Perhaps he should have scored early in the game though. One slight problem would be that his lack of pace could be quite easily exploited by a team with quicker strikers, but Jagielka should still be pretty happy with his performance.
LB: Ashley Cole 7/10
He did very well in defence, keeping Andriy Yarmolenko quiet for large parts of the game. I feel that Hodgson told him to be more defensive than usual, which is a shame, as he seemed slightly toothless in attack. However, Hodgson will be happy with his performance, which unfortunately is most important.
CM: Steven Gerrard 5/10
Distinctly average, failed to have any influence over the game. He didn’t really do anything badly, but in the same way he didn’t really do anything worthy of note, apart from deliver a few good set-pieces. We really should be expecting better from him, but as he is an over-glorified media darling, he will be starting in Brazil.
CM: Frank Lampard 5/10
On what was meant to be a memorable night for the ever-present Englishman, he seemed to disappear in the game. He was quiet throughout, and he failed to assert himself as either an attacking presence or defensive presence. He seemed to lack confidence, something we shouldn’t be expecting of someone who received his 100th cap. He should really have scored with his header in the 90th minute, calls for Carrick should be made now.
CM: Jack Wilshere 4/10
Once again, he offered very little to the side. He added to England’s lacklustre midfield. I really struggle sometimes to see why people rate him so highly as he doesn’t really do anything. He is a filler player, and makes no influence to the game at all. He didn’t assert himself at all in any attacking plays, and really struggled to play key passes. Also, because of his injury record, he seems to be targeted a lot by ‘weaker’ teams. If yesterday’s game was anything to go by, hopefully teams will kick him a bit more…
LM: James Milner 6/10
His selection typified Roy Hodgson’s ambition. He was reliable and dependant, what you expect of him seeing as he has nothing else in his locker. He did everything he needed to do to get by, but nothing inspiring, summing up England’s performance in general. He was just as good when he moved into his ‘best position’ in the centre of midfield.
RM: Theo Walcott 4/10
Looking at the starting line-up, he was the only person who would be able to offer any sort of pace to the England side. He started off decently, but should have made more of an impact against a 34 year-old right-back. But then it got worse, the Walcott which seemed to have no control of what he was doing with the ball returned. It is good to have all the pace that Walcott clearly has, but he has got to learn to use it effectively as well as being able to pass the ball, something which he seemed to forget last night. It can make watching him quite infuriating. He should have been substituted off earlier.
ST: Rickie Lambert 6/10
He had quite a good first half, in which he held up the ball quite well. He didn’t really have any chances, and he was always working really hard to try and win the ball back. In what was quite a frustrating night for the Southampton idol, it is quite hard to be too critical of him.
Ashley Young 4/10
When I first looked at the line-up, I thought that Young should have started instead of Milner. However, in the match he was poor. He was awful in possession, and looked like a man still trying to get match fitness.
Should have come on earlier.