July 03, 2006

England Squad Review

As the dust settles on another World Cup campaign here are my ratings of the England squad.

1 – Paul Robinson (App 5, Goals 0)

Maintained his reputation as one of the game’s top keepers. Overall he had little to do, but with the exception of a couple of nervy moments in the Ecuador game, he was solid throughout. Unfortunately goalies don’t win tournaments. 7/10

2 – Gary Neville (App 2, Goals 0)

Again unlucky with injury. Looked good against Paraguay, and a bit rusty against Portugal – notably when dealing with Ronaldo – but did amazing well to last the full 120 minutes. 6/10

3 – Ashley Cole (App 5, Goals 0)

A stella tournament for Ashley Cole who looked nothing like a player who had been out all season. A class act. Saving tackle against Ecuador showed his commitment. 8/10

4 –Steven Gerrard (App 5, Goals 2)

Had to stand up and be counted, especially after the loss of Owen. Struggled a little alongside Lampard in the earlier games, but flourished with Hargreaves against Portugal. Did not deserve to miss his penalty. 7/10

5 – Rio Ferdinand (App 5, Goals 0)

Recaptured the form that prompted Man Utd to shell out £33m after the last World Cup. His talent showed as the defense collapsed when he had to go off against Sweden. His languid style is still a bit odd to watch, but he gets the job done and his partnership with Terry was among the best in the tournament. 8/10

6 – John Terry (App 5, Goals 0)

After a good start the dodgy performance against Sweden seemed to play on his mind a bit. Came good in the Portugal game though – didn't allow Pauleta a kick and almost scoring the winner. 7/10

7 – David Beckham (App 5, Goals 1)

Solid display from the Captain. Led from the front and generally played some decent stuff. Lost his favourite outlets in Owen and Neville, but crossing and dead ball play was best since 2002. 7/10

8 – Frank Lampard (App 5, Goals 0)

Leaves the World Cup with his reputation severely dented. Looked desperately short of confidence throughout and wasted countless decent attacking opportunities. Sven’s decision to stand by him backfired as he failed to hit his stride and missed the critical first penalty against Portugal. 4/10

9 – Wayne Rooney (App, 4, Goals 0)

Like Gerrard, he had to play his very best for England to do well. Almost never made the tournament at all, however his performance against Ecuador suggested he could still be the difference. Then after 62 minutes of the Portugal game he did what we all feared he might. Game over. 6/10

10 – Michael Owen (App 3, Goals 0)

To win this World Cup England needed Owen and Rooney fit together. It never happened. Owen is still absolutely vital to the England set up, as he showed once he was subbed against Paraguay, but he must get fit. 6/10

11 – Joe Cole (App 5, Goals 1)

Played a blinder in the first three games, then faded a little. However given he was playing in one of his less favoured positions, and the goal he scored against Sweden, he did extremely well. 7/10

12 – Sol Campbell (App 1, Goals 0)

More of a hindrance than a help – on the pitch at least. But then Sol was only ever really in the squad as a wise old head. In his one appearance against Sweden he looked slow and unfit. 4/10

15 – Jamie Carragher (App 4, Goals 0)

Ultimate utility man. Gives you a game in any position, although still only really excels at centre back. Got done in the shoot out (or did himself?) by having to retake his penalty. 6/10

13 – Owen Hargreaves (App 4, Goals 0)

After years of abuse Hargreaves eventually got the chance to show what he can do and took his chance with both hands. He gave the performance of the tournament against Portugal where he ruled the midfield. Also filled in well at right back in earlier games. Possibly my pick of the squad given the fact I had no expectations for him. 8/10

18 – Michael Carrick (App 1, Goals 0)

Thrust into the starting line up against Ecuador he played well but Hargreaves was always a better bet in his position. One for the future, although time is running out for Carrick to stake his claim in the national side. 6/10

19 – Aaron Lennon (App 3,Goals 0)

The ultimate supersub. Provided defenders with a different sort of challenge to David Beckham. Key to getting the breakthrough against Trinidad. His time will come. 7/10

20 – Stewart Downing (App 3, Goals 0)

Was used more than I thought he would be. Steady without ever really excelling. With former boss McClaren as the new manager it will be interesting to see how his role develops. 6/10

21 – Peter Crouch (App 4, Goals 1)

Not an international standard player, but gave everything whenever he made the team and was our only striker to register a goal. Performance against Portugal was astounding. In hindsight should have started up front with Rooney. 7/10

- 2 comments by 0 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. Dave Sheffield

    yeah pretty much agree with you – great to see what o. hargreaves can actually do – can't believe he was still running for everything well into extra time on saturday.

    03 Jul 2006, 16:35

  2. Olly Whitehead

    I think Beckham had an awful tournament, and I wouldn't be surprised if his international career ended sooner rather than later. You cannot pick someone just because they can take free kicks, especially when we have others (Gerrard, Lampard) who can offer us world class dead ball ability.
    I also think that Sol Cambell's england career is over – one word – liability.
    On a positive note, Hargreaves was awesome, if Joe Cole was our best player then Hargreaves was definately second, unlimited energy, a good touch, just shows what Bayern have been seeing for years and what we've missed. A long run in the team beckons.
    The coach was awful, bizarre decisions all the way through and less tactical nous than Keegan (and thats saying something!) My main worry is that we our now blessed with a ginger, english version of Sven – many years of gross underachievement beckon. Terry as new captain, Lampard to be dropped for Hargreaves, Crouch to be top scorer in Euro qualifying….

    03 Jul 2006, 20:18

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