England 3-1 Egypt: England Player Ratings, Winners & Losers

Ollie Irish

4th, March 2010


By Ollie Irish



Rob Green didn’t have much to do. I thought he could have saved Mo Zidan’s goal – the ball wasn’t beyond his reach – but it was a fiercely struck shot. Otherwise he was sound – confident in the air and good with his feet – and looks nailed on to travel to the World Cup this summer. 7/10

Wes Brown was error-prone in possession, as he often is, but solid in defence. His ability to play centre-back and right-back is the only reason why he might travel to the World Cup. Glen Johnson is still England’s No.1 right-back, clearly. 6

John Terry was subject to a few jeers, inevitably, but he was also cheered loudly for the stuff he did well. Exposed for lack of pace at least once, which must worry Capello. 6

Matthew Upson slipped up to allow Zidan to score Egypt’s opener. That was his only major mistake, but it was costly. He was dominant in the air therafter but looks susceptible to pace and trickery. He’s a very good defender but not quite agile enough to deal with the world’s sharpest forwards. 5

Leighton Baines was keen to please his headmaster and caught the eye with his willingness to get forward, especially in the second half when his confidence grew. But Baines has played much better for Everton, and Ashley Cole need not fear for his starting place yet. 6

Theo Walcott has made no progress since his hat-trick for England in Croatia. If anything he has regressed and his confidence appears to be at an all-time low. His first touch was appalling last night and his movement lacked intelligence – he appeared to be marking the opposing left-back, rather than finding space for himself. Poor Theo appears to have forgotten the basics of wing-play and was rightly taken off early in the second half after one too many f**k-up. 3

Gareth Barry looked much more comfortable alongside Michael Carrick in the second half, than with Frank Lampard in the first. Provided one assist to cap yet another solid, reliable display. Capello likes Barry, probably because he knows the Man City man will never hit the headlines for the wrong reason. 6

Frank Lampard fluffed two decent chances and never looked particularly interested in the 45 minutes he was on the pitch. He’ll still go to South Africa, obviously, but on this evidence I’m not sure he’s worth his starting place. 4

Steven Gerrard was one of England’s better players, in as much as he looked like he was trying from the off, but he struggled to find team-mates on the same wavelength and frequently left Baines exposed by drifting inside from the left flank. 6

Wayne Rooney should have been rested – we know he’s a dead cert to lead the line in South Africa and he could surely have used a short break. Plenty of nice touches but appeared frustrated with his team-mates and won’t have minded being subbed off – rare for Rooney – near the end. 6

Jermain Defoe was not the Defoe we see for Spurs, week-in week-out. The first half passed him by and he was replaced by Crouch at half-time. Could he now miss out on a place in Capello’s final WC squad? It’s possible, but he’s still England’s No.1 fox in the box. 5

Subs: Peter Crouch (8) scored twice and seemed to lift his team-mates, Shaun Wright-Phillips (7) scared Egypt with his pace and was a big improvement on Walcott, Michael Carrick (7) passed the ball smoothly, James Milner (7) tore around with typical enthusiasm, Carlton Cole (6) had little time to make an impact.

Manager Fabio Capello showed his value at half-time, with a couple of effective substitutions.

So who were England’s winners and losers on the night?

WINNERS: Peter Crouch (all but clinched his ticket to South Africa), Shaun Wright-Phillips (moved ahead of Walcott in right-wing pecking order), James Milner (more dynamic and enthusaistic than both Lampard and Gerrard), Rob Green (didn’t drop the ball, so to speak), Michael Carrick (looked classy in second-half cameo, worked well with Gerrard and Barry)

LOSERS: Theo Walcott (in danger of missing final cut after abject display), Frank Lampard (needs to pull his socks up and rediscover shooting touch), Jermain Defoe (had a worrying off-day), Matthew Upson (slipped up)

As it stands, and with no injuries, here’s the starting XI I think Capello would like to field against the USA in England’s World Cup opener:

Rob Green

Glen Johnson, Rio Ferdinand (c), John Terry, Ashley Cole

Aaron Lennon, Frank Lampard, Gareth Barry, Steven Gerrard

Wayne Rooney, Emile Heskey

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  1. Meji says:

    Solid review.

  2. Chringle says:

    I can’t believe how many times Walcott overruns the ball (for Arsenal and England) with the pace he has at his disposal.

    ‘Shit touch for a little man’ should become a registered football cliche on the back of his performances alone.

    Anyway, I agree with almost all the ratings Ollie, except I’d have given Lamps and Gerrard even lower marks – the former being on par with Walcott in the poorness stakes.

  3. Sim says:

    I’d agree with your ratings, good review.
    I’ve never seen the obsession with Walcott for the past few years and am glad now everyone else is realising he’s not that great. I believe at this time he would be wasting a valuable space on the WC squad which could be taken by someone with more experience/versatility such as Joe Cole…

  4. Dan says:

    Why do we never put someone like Milner or Ashley Young on the left wing, and move Gerrard infield in place of the utterly ineffective Lampard? Would solve the ‘drifting inside’ problem of last night.

  5. […] England 3-1 Egypt: England Player Ratings, Winners & Losers Photos: England 3-1 Egypt – Crouch 2 Good, Walcott 2 […]

  6. Ollie says:

    @ Dan – totally agree. I’d like to see Milner on the left, Lennon on the right (two Leeds old boys there), with Gerrard and Barry in the centre. Carrick and Lampard as game-changers if needed.

    And it’s clear Capello doesn’t rate Ashley Young.

  7. Mr TEE says:

    Lamps is a meat and two veg player, tried to play with the Chelsea arrogance but was found out again at the highest level. Ditto Gerrard where is passing is so easily read but the opporistion. As for SRPHillips, fast kid suited to the championship that’s it. The Winner again was Capello who changed it to ensure a win

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