Saturday, 4 June 2011

England vs Switzerland - Match Ratings

By Shane Thomas


Has the cocksure nature of youth, but pride can sometimes come before a fall. Cannot be blamed for the first goal, but was far too slow to react for the second. And his nonchalance when dealing with backpasses could hurt England in a more important game than this.


Almost scored with a header in the second minute, and constantly tried to get forward when possible. But with Walcott off-form, he ended up patrolling the whole right flank on his own. And it's asking far too much of him to do the work of two men.


Made an uncharacteristic error when he should have cleared Barnetta's free-kick for Switzerland's first goal. But defended well thereafter. Doesn't have the pace of his younger days, but swept up any danger when the Swiss counter-attacked in the second half.


The best and worst from England's captain. Defended stoutly, but the problem with Terry in an England shirt is that he seems to think he's the second coming of Frank Beckenbauer, when he's not even Gerard Pique. His attempts to being the ball out from the back & hit long raking passes is getting infuriating. He's a good defender but would be much more effective if he played to this strengths.


Was the only England player to impress in the first half, making an excellent tackle to deny Valon Behrami a shot at goal. However, he was injured making the challenge and had to depart. While he'll never be loved, it seems that he's finally earned the respect of the England fans - which he fully deserves - as he received a warm round of applause when limping off.


Has had his breakthrough season at Everton and clearly feels at home in an England shirt now. He had an excellent game, marauding forwarding & being a constant threat to the Swiss defence, no more so than his delightful touch to set up England's equaliser.


England often look vulnerable without a shield to protect their defence, and Parker made many important interceptions when England were under pressure. The problem is that a holding midfield player has to be as proficient with the ball as much as he is when he doesn't have it. And Parker's distribution was constantly sub-standard. Funny enough, if Fabio Capello could gene-splice him with Gareth Barry, then England would be a more balanced side.


Was probably a bit lucky with the penalty he scored, but a goal's a goal. And while he was ineffectual in the first 45 minutes, he was no worse than many of his teammates. It seemed that substituting him off at half-time was more of a symbolic decision than an objective one. Lampard is looking increasingly like yesterday's man, and his place in the England team is looking increasingly precarious.


It seems that Wilshere continues to have critical immunity from the punditocracy. Yes, his drive in winning the penalty showed the mentality of the man, while his superb run & pass to set up Bent showed his technical skill. But he was dire in the first half, and still has plenty to learn before England can build a side around him.


No-one could understand why the Aston Villa man (for how much longer?) didn't make the starting XI. And his arrival in the second half only showed up the folly of that decision. The quality of his final ball was uneven, but he was a constant menace and gave England a cutting edge that had been sorely lacking in the first half. The way he took his goal showed exactly why he's expected to be turning out for either Liverpool or Manchester United in two months.


A more competent referee would have sent Johan Djourou off when he brought down his Arsenal's teammate on the edge of the box. But that apart, this was like watching Walcott back in the days when he looked like a boy in a man's world. He should have been hauled off long before the 70th minute. Walcott can no longer use his youth as an excuse. He's no longer green at this level. Any more of this and he'll probably be dropped.


Probably shouldn't have started the match, and couldn't rise above the mediocre nature of England's performance, summed up by his inexplicable decision to break from the wall on Switzerland's second goal. But he was much improved after the break. Started the move that led to the equaliser, and dovetailed nicely with Baines. But is never likely to be anything more than a valued squad player.


Has had a strong season for Villa, and should have been given more time to show what he could do. But all he did when coming on was to give the ball away, and miss a sitter with the last kick of the match that would have won the game. In a nutshell it showed the difference between shining in the Premier League & rising to the occasion in an England shirt.


Looked isolated and didn't link play with his midfield anywhere near enough as what was required. But as we all know, Bent's not a workhorse, he's a goalscorer, a finisher. Create opportunities for him & he'll take them. In ITV's coverage, Peter Reid even compared Bent to Gary Lineker. Well Lineker would have gobbled up both clear-cut chances that Bent spurned. The Aston Villa man only needed to take one of them to secure the three points. Bent looked to have finally made his breakthrough at international level, so I can only put his finishing in this game down to a total loss of nerve when the pressure was on.

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