The F365 England v Norway Player Ratings

Ashley Young avoids the tendency to disappear up his own bottom, Stewart Downing was actually pretty good, but boy Phil Jones and Rob Green make us nervous...

Last Updated: 30/05/12 at 15:39 Post Comment

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Rob Green
That England are a little light in the goalkeeping department is not news. However, at times during this game we in F365 Towers were praying to almighty Pazuzu that Joe Hart doesn't come to any misfortune. To be fair, Green did seem to grow in confidence as the game progressed, and one nearly forgot the two or three crosses he waved at. Still, just try and keep as safe as you can, eh Joe?


Phil Jones
There's definitely a sense that Jones just isn't ready for international football just yet. He sure as sh*t isn't a right-back, as his often tentative and wasteful performance showed. A full-back has to have some assurance on the ball, but Jones gave the thing away far too often against fairly modest competition. In a year, maybe two, Jones will probably be an excellent defender, but not now. Lord, let's hope Glen Johnson's toe clears up, because Jones doesn't half make you nervous.


Leighton Baines
A slightly odd evening for Baines, because along with Green he knew that, without injuries, he'll be travelling to Polkraine as a spectator. Still, he was OK, although it was rather troubling that he got knocked off the ball quite so easily a few times.


Joleon Lescott
Excellent. Really, apart from a slightly hesitant opening when he allowed the Norwegian attackers too much room, Lescott displayed the sort of form that has been so important for Manchester City. He probably won't be, as the Chelsea pair will probably slot back in once they've slept off their hangovers , but on form Lescott should really be one of England's starting centre-backs.


Phil Jagielka
The good news is, England are pretty well stocked at centre-back. The man who isn't even in the chosen 23 was splendidly solid, barely letting an admittedly limited Norway attack have a sniff. It's worth noting that Jagielka and Lescott were the partnership in England's win over Spain last year, so these two know how to defend.


Scott Parker
Efficient enough, but it was slightly alarming how incredibly deep Parker found himself on occasion. He often was almost a third centre-back when Norway were attacking, and was a physical embodiment of Hodgson's strategy to keep England as solid and difficult to break down as possible. After he was withdrawn, it was a touch concerning to see such a large number of ice packs on that troublesome Achilles, but we shall trust the medical staff with that one for now.


Steven Gerrard
When Gerrard keeps things simple, he's a valuable asset. However, it's when he starts trying to spray 30-yard passes all over the shop that things start to go south. Gerrard's value to the team is to sensibly dictate play, and perhaps make a few late breaking runs into the box. He did the latter admirably on a few occasions - most notably for Young's goal, in which he distracted the covering Norwegian defender - and in terms of the former, it was notable how England's ball retention got worse after he departed. He did all this for a bit, but then launched another long one into yards of empty space. Frustrating.


Stewart Downing
You know what, he was pretty good. His cross for Andy Carroll early on was an absolutely textbook near-post whipper, and it deserved better than his Liverpool teammate's 50p-head-effort. Indeed, England's first-half plan seemed to be hold onto possession, then get it out wide when possible for a cross to be flung over, and fling them over Downing did.


James Milner
The problem with the 'get it wide' masterplan is that the wingers not only have to be able to cross the thing, but have a bit of pace too. Milner offered neither of these things, and one was placed in the curious position of pining for Theo Walcott. Actually, he did get better after moving into the middle, but Milner looked like a man who has only played a minute of proper football in nearly two months - with that in mind, a bit of sharpening in Oslo might be worth the mediocre display.


Ashley Young
Very good indeed, certainly in the first half. The tendency he has at Manchester United to disappear up his own bottom was absent here, perhaps indicating that he does better when a team relies on him a little more, and he isn't quite as likely to defer to someone else. Ostensibly playing 'in the hole', Young spent much of the opening 45 minutes as a genuine striker, and both created and took his goal splendidly, if helped by a spot of slapstick defending from Brede Hangeland.


Andy Carroll
Not bad, not great. Missed the one truly presentable chance he got, but did link rather nicely with Young, laying the ball off for his partner a fair few times. He became more and more isolated as the game went on, but he was almost as valuable to Roy Hodgson for his defensive work as his attacking. One suspects that, unless something curious happens, this will probably be the strike partnership against France.


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Gareth Barry
While he has been largely excellent for Manchester City this season, Barry's work for the evening seemed to consist of coming on, ensuring that England no longer controlled possession in the way they did with Parker on the field, then twang his groin. Good. Well done. Thanks for coming.


Theo Walcott
Provided the pace we were yearning for as Milner laboured up and down the wing, but didn't do a great deal with it. Also attempted one of the sorriest excuses for a shot seen in some time. However, we of course must be patient with Walcott, as he only played 45 minutes of football for Arsenal after March 13.


Jordan Henderson
Someone wrote into the F365 Mailbox a few months back and compared Henderson to a dog who just woke itself up by farting. While it would be indelicate for me to speculate on Mr Henderson's flatulence, the dog analogy is decent. He's willing, enthusiastic and runs around a lot, but without a great deal of intelligence or art. Bless him. Do you think Steven Gerrard tickles his belly and rubs him behind the ears when they've finished playing?


Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain He doesn't muck about, does he? Oxlade-Chamberlain will of course travel to Euro 2012 as an impact substitute, someone to come on and cause a little havoc when some havoc needs to be caused, and in this respect his wee cameo was an indication of what we can both expect and hope for in this tournament. Almost created a goal with his very first touch, too.


Adam Johnson and Martin Kelly Didn't have enough time to do much of anything at all.


Nick Miller - rate him on Twitter, if you like

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