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England player ratings: The problem positions in Capello's starting XI

04 Mar 2010 09:49:44

England player ratings: The problem positions in Capello's starting XI

Goalkeeper Robert Green Fabio Capello suspects this is England's real Achilles heel. Going into the World Cup with a commanding keeper would give him so much more confidence. His decision to keep Green on proved the West Ham keeper has established himself as the man in possession of the No 1 shirt. He did nothing wrong on his first appearance since being sent off in Ukraine. His handling was clean, his distribution good and he commanded his box. Hopelessly exposed for the goal. 6/10Full BacksLeighton BainesAn awkward startfor both stand-in full backs, thrust into a back-four which lookeddistinctly vulnerable against the Egyptians in the first half. Therewere no great scares, though, for Baines on his debut. He wasoverloaded early on by wing back Ahmed El Mehamady but sorted theproblem out and proved he can defend crosses as the last man at theback post, despite his lack of height. Baines is clearly ahead ofStephen Warnock in the manager's thoughts. Composed on the ball, he waseven given the honour of taking the set-pieces. 6/10 Wes Brown UnlikeBaines, there are few defensive questions about Brown. He is solid anda capable stand-in, which makes him a likely traveller in the summer.But he looks far more at ease in central defence than at right back,where he will be expected to break forward and make play in games whenEngland are in control of possession. 6/10 Centre Backs John Terry Somewhat understandably,Terry looked nervy and drained of confidence in the first half. The former team skipper stroked his first pass of the game, intended for Wes Brown, straight into touch, he lost his man at a corner, played a hospital pass to debutant Leighton Baines and was beaten more than once in the air by centre forward Emad Abdelnaby. Such sloppy mistakes have crept into his game, perhaps the result of the slightest change in his mindset, although he settled the back four as the game went on, helped by the fact that England started to control other areas of the pitch after half-time. 6/10 Matthew Upson Alongside the deposed captain, Upson looked a picture of calm. At least he did until he totally lost his footing and slipped in the 23rd minute, allowing Mohamed Zidan all the time in the world to put the Egyptians ahead. 6/10 Right Wingers Theo Walcott With one exhilarating burst of speed and cross to Lampard in the fifth minute, Walcott illustrated why he will definitely go to South Africa if fit. James Milner is playing so well that there may be an argument for cramming him in the team. The obvious place with Aaron Lennon out would be the right wing but dropping Walcott from this team leaves it bereft of pace. That does not mean he is back to his best. It has been a stop-start season and at times he was utterly frustrating. 6/10 Shaun Wright-Phillips Walcott's replacement was much more involved and certainly has a goal knack. This was his sixth in 30 games for his country, albeit an effort the keeper ought to have saved. 6/10 Rooney's Support Jermain Defoe In for his poaching instincts but missed two excellent chances before he was replaced at half-time. First a flashing header over the bar when unmarked and then allowing keeper Essam El Hadary to save when he was clean through. It was exactly the sort of opening he normally finishes. Confirmation that his role in South Africa may be coming off the bench. 5/10 Peter Crouch Never fails to cause problems for central defenders - and his strike-rate is prolific. Capello faces the same dilemma as Sven-Goran Eriksson before the last World Cup. 8/10And the rest...Frank Lampard Not himself. Missed two chances in the first half which he would normally bury and failed to dominate midfield with Gareth Barry before he was withdrawn at half-time. 5/10 Gareth Barry He was as tidy as ever. Worked hard and linked up the passes. Got forward well and played a crucial part in Peter Crouch's first goal with a dart into the penalty box and an astute cut-back. 7/10 Steven Gerrard His first 45 minutes makes you wonder if he really likes playing from wide on the left. Drifted inside at every opportunity but did not find it easy to knit into the play until Crouch came on. 6/10 Wayne Rooney Always willing, never stops - no-one will complain if he saves his best for the World Cup. Much happier in the second half and took armband after Gerrard departed. 7/10 England 3 Egypt 1: Few answers for Fabio Capello in a victory for that shows England are not the finished articleMARTIN SAMUEL: It's time the boo boys stopped hanging John Terry out to dry...2010 World Cup countdown: Number 121 Tommy Oar causes a stir, No Trunks for Sven Goran Eriksson and Ricardo Carvalho's China crisisEngland U21 1 Greece U21 2: Smalling blunder leaves Pearce in a big hole  Explore more:People:Shaun Wright-Phillips, Robert Green, Steven Gerrard, Theo Walcott, Peter Crouch, Wayne Rooney, Fabio Capello, James Milner, Jermain Defoe, WES BROWN, Sven Goran Eriksson, Aaron Lennon, John Terry, Gareth Barry, Frank LampardPlaces:South Africa, United Kingdom


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