Friday, 18 June 2010

England vs Algeria - Match Ratings


Apart from an awkward moment in the first 15 minutes, James was solid, unfussy and dependable. He fulfilled the minimum requirement of a goalkeeper and will surely stay between the sticks for the rest of England's time in South Africa. However long that lasts.


Was given a much severe test by Nadir Belhadj than he had against the USA. But he tried to supplement the attack as much as possible. It's a clear indication of England's performance that he was probably the team's best attacking outlet.


His reading of the game was sharp enough to compensate for his lack of pace. Often looked for the safe option which points to him being quite nervous beforehand. Was unlucky to be booked for a non-existent foul and is suspended for Wednesday's game against Slovenia.


Was unruffled in defence, apart from one glaring error when David James had to cover a woeful mistake from the Chelsea skipper. He also looked to start attacks when possible as the game wore on. He may be needed for his presence at the other end of the pitch against Slovenia.


Probably England's best player. His defending was faultless, and made forward runs that went often went unnoticed. But we're still yet to see the best of him. His attacking thrusts need to increase.


He's in the side for one thing. His pace and ability to test full-backs. He provided nothing. The clearest example of England's collective lack of courage. On this performance, Fabio Capello might as well have put Theo Walcott in the squad and left the Spurs man at home.


This is looking worryingly like the Lampard that underperformed during the last World Cup. His passing lacked purpose, and his shooting was awful. He had England's one chance and he will know that he should have scored with it.


Made some timely interventions in the first half and is crucial to the balance of the team. But even he began to lose his radar as England grew in desperation to break the deadlock.


Don't be fooled by pundits saying Gerrard is ineffective on the left. Anyone who watched the game properly saw that Gerrard spent more time in the middle and even popped up on the right hand side on occasion. The captain was at his most infuriating here, haring round the pitch with the energy and intelligence of a headless chicken. He's another who has to improve. And fast.


Will be made an unfair scapegoat for England's performance. His industry was in vain due to the failure of those around him to sparkle. But Heskey failed to get much change out of Majid Bougherra, who played him superbly.


England's team is built to extract the best out of Rooney. This was him at his worst. Not only did he fail to trouble the Algerian defence, but he couldn't even do the basics right. The rumours surrounding Rooney's physical condition may be more than just a rumour. The Scouse firebrand is allowing his frustration to get the best of him, and he must control his fire before it spreads to the whole England team.


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