England V Egypt: Player Ratings. Wednesday 4th March 2010.

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GK:  Robert Green  –  Rating 6.6
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Didn’t have to do much, he got nowhere near Zidan’s shot for the goal, but that wasn’t his fault, I would have liked to have seen Joe Hart, but looks like Capello has settled on Green.
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LB:  Leighton Baines  –  Rating 6.6
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A Gary Neville of a performance (and that’s not a criticism), certainly looks capable of filling in for Cole. He was beaten a couple of  times by the Egyptian right side attack, but made up for it with his support for our attack, his deflected cross which led to Milners saved shot rebounding to Shaun W-P for England’s second.
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RB:  Wes Brown  –  Rating 6.7
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“One Expression Wes”  Wes will never be the neatest of defenders (and without Rio or Cole, England’s defence looks as clumsy as I can ever remember), but he fumbled through making last ditch stretches to stop an attack or two. He will definitely concede penalties and corners, I can see the reason why he’s there because Glen Johnson gets all manic-depressive when he has to do anything that looks like it’s approaching defending..
Wes had one very important impact in the game, he set up Shaun WP an exquisite pass leading to England’s third. I think it was the first time he really connected with the right-sided attacker, he failed to with Walcott, but he proved himself with Shaun WP. He also made forays in the first half leading to a couple of dangerous crosses, I was pleasantly surprised yesterday with how confident he was in the opposition half.
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CB1:  John Terry  –  Rating 6.4
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Big night for Big John, he was booed plenty by all those big London club fans. we all know the type, the cynical mock cockney home-county Wankers who are resident at Wembley. Seems as if the fans who don’t do what the tabloids tell them to do and want England to play in a supportive atmosphere in World Cup year got behind him as well. Fair-play on them.
How he played?, well he played only slightly worse than he normally plays which is ok I suppose, he would usually have someone real good like Rio or at club level Carvalho (who got injured playing for Portugal last night, and is a scare for Chelsea) cleaning up his big cumbersome errors and it really shows when he has not. PLUS the nations eye is really on him at the moment.
Combining this performance with his recent matches at club level AND with the impact of the Bridge affair, well.. he needs to be watched, he could crumble, he could become a liability, he may even develop the yips.
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CB2:  Matthew Upson  –  Rating 5.9
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Responsible for Egypt’s goal, his slip on the apparently awful surface allowedZidan to pick his spot, so he has a good reason, but it’s not an excuse.. (the pitch)
Upson did Upson, that’s him!, slipping and scrambling and barging. The best he ever hope to be is Dunn style defender, good at all the physical stuff but shit at the athletic and brain stuff, the Rio stuff, the Lucio stuff. What a shit pair of Centre Backs mind. can we win the World Cup without Rio? doubt it.
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MD1:  Frank Lampard  –  Rating 6.3
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I ain’t hated on Frank so much in the last year or so, he’s proved at certain times that he can hold his own at Champions League level, and I take my hat off to him for that.
Last night was a return to old-fashioned Frank, and it’s just like .. why bother?. He’s Mr. Sideways pass then run in to receive a ball from a fellow midfielder who is actually doing his job and setting up his team mate, rather than Franks crab-like passing then hauling his fat ass imagining himself to be GabrielBatistuta at his peak then striking a ball in a way which will only make Diana Ross proud. He was a real problem, and I always feel there’s this defensive gap wherever he plays too, he offers little tangible support to any defensive player who may want to support an attack (i.e. Wes Brown). I mean, we could drop him like he’s cold and start with Milner for god-sake, who do we want starting? a positive attacking and progressive player who interlinks with everyone around him or Frank Lampard who is a cloud of nothing whose main abilities are winning free-kicks by falling over and set-pieces (he was poor on his corners last night too)
I think Lampard off the pitch was the main reason we picked up and connected as a team in the second half.
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MD2:  Gareth Barry  –  Rating 7.4
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Fairly Anon. in the first half, I seem to remember him scrabbling around hauling himself over the pitch trying to get near these nippy Egyptians who we were struggling to get the ball off, which I suppose is a part of his job description. Came to life in the second half interlinking with Carrick and Gerrard and Rooney, made forays into the box grabbing the assist in a very neat first goal, very strong.. should have had shitload’s of caps by now.
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MD3:  Steven Gerrard  –  Rating 7.3
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Similar performance to Barry, came alive in the second half when as a team we played so much better. His pitch perfect ball for Barry for England’s first is typical of his ability. He seemed to be operating from the central areas and in the first half leaving the left as a place to allow Rooney to go roaming in, Ican’t say I remember him out there too much at all and only really noticed the left being attacked during the second half with support from Baines and Milner.
Over years the argument has been Can Lampard and Gerrard play together? well that question is incorrect, the question is can Lampard play with anyone? I certainly wouldn’t start him.
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MD4:  Theo Walcott  –  Rating  6.2
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Theo oh Theo oh Theo, his lack of games for Arsenal is showing now. His job in the next two months is to work harder than he can ever imagine to become a starter and make an impact in the league and CL and get himself match fit. He’s still got ALL the pace, but is lacking something in confidence and its no good and aint going to get him on the plane to SA. He looks like he’s put a few pounds on his backside, maybe its to tough him up for some of sickening tackles he will have to face from all those clubs who think its fair game to smash an opposition player who’s about 4 stone lighter than they’re lightest defender, or maybe he’s just been sat on his ass too much? it has not affected his speed that’s for sure.
Come on Arsene, do England a favour.
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CF:  Wayne Rooney  –  Rating 8.0
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The Dude, the best player on form in the World, a constant threat, he usually had three defenders on him and still found space for shots, headers, exquisite passes, and Zizou-esque touches. A Talisman screaming at his underperforming team mates in the first half (who was his moral boosting outburst aimed at?).
England’s de-facto captain. He was always going to be real good, but this year he’s gone supernova. Zinedine Zidane class. that good. Not directly involved in the goals but easily the best player on the pitch, and he’s English.
As a 35-year-old Englishman I have to say its the first time I’ve ever been able to say that.
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S:  Jermain Defoe  –  Rating 6.6
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Defoe being my preferred partner of choice for Rooney, had an average game not taking the chance and a half that came to him, he linked up well withWazza a couple of times in the bleak atmosphere of the first half, but that was all really. Cant say too much negative or positive about him on last night’s showing. It was like the Egyptians were used to playing nippy little black kiddies (oh yeah, I forgot.. Egypt have been African champions three years running – dammit).
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Sub  MD:  Michael Carrick  –  Rating 7.2 (for Lampard 46min)
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I believe the exit of Lampard and entry of Carrick to be the turning point of the game and the man reason for England’s positive performance in the second half. A laser guided foot and a modest attitude with an ability to link up confidently with all those around him whilst supporting attack and defence with a certain amount of intelligence will get him on the plane. Progressively combative throughout his career, his talent is definitely on an upward curve. Although I still don’t like seeing him slide in for the tackle as he ain’t quite mastered that without giving away a dangerous free kick or a yellow card. its like Scholesy taught him to tackle.
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Sub S:  Peter Crouch  –  Rating 8.5 (for Defoe 46min)
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Gangly streak of piss super sub Peter Crouch made the biggest shout for inclusion last night for the squad with two wonderfully taken goals. Make no mistake, if it was Torres or Drogba we would be creaming over how quick they’re feet were. Sometimes a mistake teams make when he’s in the team is to play him like a “Big Man”, this is a mistake, he’s a great striker, just play him like an average size fella. He’s never in the Rooney class of heading, he’s 9ft7inch but weighs the same as an average size player and he aint GREAT in the air, he ain’t got the muscle.
An argument remains about if he is a starter and I don’t believe he is, he’s a Solskjaer, simple as.
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Sub MD:  Shaun Wright-Phillips  –  Rating 8.2 (for Walcott 57min)
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Alongside Crouch, Wright Phillips had the biggest impact of the night with one decent assist and a fortuitous goal. Replacing Walcott, the currently high in confidence right-wing attacking display by Shaun Wright Phillips pushes him to the top of the right-sided midfielder fight for a starting place. Teaming up well with Wes Brown in particular, he proved a constant threat and got behind the Egyptian lines to cross on more than one occasion. Playing constantly at Man City with all those tasty players has had a fantastic effect on him after he seemed to stall for a few years. It seems his ability to cause trouble on the pitch for the opposition is on an upward curve.. and its nice to see.
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Sub MD:  James Milner  –  Rating 7.3 (for Gerrard 73min)
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It’s hard to make an impact in 20 minutes but James Milner did, lashing a powerful shot from Baines’s deflected cross, which was poorly punched away by the Keeper to the alert Wright Phillips for England’s second and deciding goal of the night. Combine Milners spirited and effective performances for club and country and his general form means he will be going. Most people at the beginning of the season would not have put a bet on him, what with excellent performances from Young, Walcott, Lennon etc, but injuries and bad form and his ability to grab his history has made him a dead cert.
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Sub CF:  Carlton Cole (not rated)  (for Rooney 86min)
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I’m not rating him on 10 minutes of play, that’s impossible really.
Suffice to say I think he’s going as long as he stays injure free, I hope he goes and Heskey don’t anyways. Cant say I feel too strong about it. but Heskey? its back to the days of Franky & Heskey falling over all the time to win free kicks for Becks and EEEURGGH makes me puke.
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GENERAL SYNOPSIS.
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Atmosphere at Wembley affected the confidence of our play in the first half (when will England start playing elsewhere for fucks sake), combine this with one of atoms failing to link up effectively with any of the other 11 atoms led to a disjointed display, A decent Egypt took full advantage and a deserved lead into the second half.
At half time Capello makes two changes – Carrick for Lampard & Crouch for Defoe, with instant effect, not only giving England some balance and stability but a finishing touch to some hard work by Barry, Gerrard, Carrick and Shaun Wright-Phillips
The African champions gave us a good fight and we learnt plenty..
One more thing, I do find it rather ridiculous we are not playing for 12 weeks (just before the world cup), this team needs to play, to get familiar with each other.. how else are we to beat Brazil or Spain?
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