F365's England v Moldova Player Ratings

Welbeck will be sorely missed on Tuesday after chipping in with two fine finishes against Moldova, but Lambert has given England hope for the Ukraine clash...

Last Updated: 06/09/13 at 23:50 Post Comment

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Joe Hart
Hart may have enjoyed a night out of the spotlight following recent questions over his form. He has a chance to prove his doubters wrong against Ukraine on Tuesday.


Kyle Walker
On a night when he had few defensive duties, Walker's best work came in support of Theo Walcott. The right-back will be tested on Tuesday, however, when his tendency to commit errors will be scrutinised by Yevhen Konoplyanka, who scored Ukraine's fifth goal in a 9-0 win over San Marino on Friday. Glen Johnson remains by far the best option for England at right-back, but Walker now has a brilliant opportunity to impress Roy Hodgson.


Gary Cahill
Quickly snuffed out Moldova's meagre attacking threat and was again a nuisance in the opposing penalty area, lofting the pass to Theo Walcott that eventually saw Rickie Lambert head home the second goal after the winger's shot was parried. Cahill has started all four of England's matches this summer and has seemingly pinched Joleon Lescott's place in the starting XI. He appears to be the natural successor to John Terry, possessing similar strengths and weaknesses to his Chelsea teammate.


Phil Jagielka
Spent most of the match playing around the half-way line, illustrated by the fact that he made the second highest number of passes for England (after Steven Gerrard) and had the second highest number of touches (after Gerrard). Jagielka's pass completion rate of 94% shows this was no hindrance to the team as he kept things ticking over.


Ashley Cole
Linked up well with Danny Welbeck in the build-up to Gerrard's opening goal and for another opportunity that Welbeck ballooned over from the edge of the area. Replaced at half time as a precaution ahead of Tuesday and clearly remains Hodgson's first pick at left-back.


Steven Gerrard
Opened the scoring with a brilliant low drive, created ten chances for his teammates and made the most tackles on a night of dominance. Gerrard has been England's most consistent performer since Hodgson named him captain in May 2012 and led by example in another impressive display. Hopefully his ageing body will have recovered in time for the tougher test that awaits.


Frank Lampard
Snarky journalists mocked the idea of Lampard and Gerrard playing together in the Friday papers, but there was no problem with England's balance against a weak Moldovan midfield. The issue of whether England's two thirty-somethings could play alongside each other was more pertinent when the national team played 4-4-2. It was discussed at length at the 2006 World Cup under Sven-Göran Eriksson when the pair started England's first two group matches before Gerrard was replaced by Owen Hargreaves for the 2-2 draw with Sweden. Gerrard's role has changed, however, and he now instigates attacks from deep rather than bombing forward at will. With Jack Wilshere given licence to roam in a midfield three, England's concerns are no longer focused on how well Gerrard and Lampard gel.


Jack Wilshere
Although Wilshere recorded a pass accuracy of just 71% in the first half (the joint worst for England along with Welbeck and worse than five Moldova players), his class again shone through with an energetic performance. He seemed certain to score when he steamed through Moldova's defence on the half-hour mark but, after rolling the ball under his foot to create space to shoot, he blasted his effort straight at the keeper. It was wise for Hodgson to replace Wilshere after an hour following several robust challenges from his frustrated markers.


Theo Walcott
Two volleyed attemps; one which led to England's second goal and another that sailed high over the crossbar. That Walcott didn't complete a single dribble in 90 minutes rather sums up his night. He was busy and diligent in his tracking back duties, but his usual strength of being able to run in behind the defence was negated by Moldova's deep back line. It was not an occasion for Walcott to shine but England will need him to provide a goalscoring threat on Tuesday after Welbeck joined Wayne Rooney and (probably) Daniel Sturridge on the list of absentees.


Danny Welbeck
Welbeck's booking for shooting after the whistle had blown for off-side was incredibly harsh and the striker then emphasised that he will be sorely missed on Tuesday with two excellent finishes. In stark contrast to his record at Manchester United, Welbeck now has eight goals in 18 appearances for England. The 22-year-old's composure inside the penalty area (rather than around the edge of the box) wasn't his only plus on Friday either, as his link-up play with Cole on the left helped create the chance for Gerrard's opener.


Rickie Lambert
Two caps, two goals, two assists, and now the man charged with carrying England's hopes against Ukraine. It's been quite an introduction to international football for Lambert. The Southampton striker silenced comparisons to Grant Holt once and for all with a display that proved he is more than just a target man. After his alert finish doubled England's lead, Lambert picked out Welbeck with two perfect passes to double the advantage once more. He looked nervous in the early stages - screaming 'TW*T' after crashing a volley wide (which is always good to see) - but left the pitch on 71 minutes having reassured Hodgson and the fans that he can help unlock Ukraine.


Subs

Leighton Baines (for Ashley Cole, 45 mins)
His powerful drive in the second half was the only attempt Moldova's keeper, Stanislav Namasco, saved convincingly all night. Baines will perhaps have been disappointed not to start the match and he still faces a tough challenge to replace Cole before the World Cup (should England qualify).


Ross Barkley (for Jack Wilshere, 60 mins)
Barkley's introduction coincided with England taking their foot off the gas and his only contribution of note was a shot that dragged just wide following a superb pass from Gerrard. However, it's hugely encouraging to see the 19-year-old given a chance following his impressive start to the season. It may be a big ask for Barkley to maintain his form over the next nine months but, by involving him in these two qualifiers, Hodgson has set him a realistic goal to work towards.


James Milner (for Rickie Lambert, 71 mins)
Missed a sitter in the last minute.

Matt Stanger - he's on the Twitter.

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