Tuesday, March 29, 2011

How England Rated vs Ghana

Joe Hart- Hart was a bit of a mixed bag in this game, with his kicking a little suspect, but he did make one superb stop in the first half to keep the score at 0-0.
Rating: 5

Leighton Baines: Arguably England's best player, Baines terrorized the Ghana defense with his incisive runs from deep. In the first half, his combination play with Ashley Young looked exceptional, and England fans should be safe in the knowledge that in Baines they have a player more than capable of filling in for Ashley Cole.
Rating: 8

Phil Jagielka- Disastrous throughout, Jagielka was the clear weak link in an otherwise solid English back four. The Everton man struggled with his positioning all night, and his passing out of the back no great shakes either.
Rating: 2

Gary Cahill- Personally, I thought Cahill was quite impressive on the event of his first full ninety with England. He looked solid at the back, and his passing ability provided a good transition from defense to midfield. Always a threat at corners, Cahill came close to scoring with a second half header, only to denied by a Ghanaian block.
Rating: 6

Glenn Johnson/Jolean Lescott- After a poor first half performance (especially in the crossing department), Johnson was replaced by Manchester City's Jolean Lescott. If possible, Lescott was even worse, giving away countless numbers of free kicks deep inside England territory. Lescott could not deal with the threat of Asamoah Gyan in attack, a fact which will surely be noted by Sunderland manager Steve Bruce.
Rating: Both 2

Jack Wilshere- In probably his poorest showing in an England shirt, Wilshere didn't look nearly as dominant as he was against Wales. With Arsenal out of all but one competition, Wilshere will be provided with some much needed rest, a bonus that will hopefully leave him full energized for the run-in.
Rating: 5

Gareth Barry- Captain on the night, but in terms of performance no different from the norm. Barry once again looked laborious in the center of midfield, poor in his passing and not a very effective shield to the defense. Scott Parker looked much better during England's win in Wales, so Barry's days as an England starter could be numbered.
Rating: 4 

James Milner- In all honesty, Milner was quite ineffective in midfield, making practically no impact either defensively, or in the attacking third of the pitch. His form has certainly suffered from a lack of first team opportunities at City, and his decision to leave Aston Villa is looking more and more unfortunate every week.
Rating: 4

Ashley Young- Lively in the first half, Young's play petered out badly in the second period, much like England's overall performance. However, it was his ball over the top which started the play that ended in Carroll goal, so it wasn't a totally wasted evening from the winger.
Rating: 6

Stewart Downing- Voted man of the match by the Wembley crowd, Stewart Downing enjoyed one of his best ever England performances to date. Downing terrorized the Ghanaian full backs with his trickery, and the Aston Villa man even claimed an assist, a cute flick from Young's long ball, which set up Andy Carroll to score.
Rating: 7

Andy Carroll- No doubt Carroll will get all the headlines following his first goal for the Three Lions, but actually, his overall play was quite poor. Coming off an injury, it is understandable that he was off the pace, which is why I won't criticize him too much here, especially as his finish on the goal was simply majestic.
Rating: 5

Overall, an England team made up of fringe players lacked fluidity (especially in the second half) while the defense was made quite porous due to the inept displays of Phil Jagielka and Jolean Lescott. On the other hand, England fans should be excited about the potential of Andy Carroll, with his first goal for the national team by far the highlight of an otherwise drab display.

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