Assessing the players: England 0-0 Brazil

Date published: Tuesday 14th November 2017 10:30

If Jordan Pickford showed glimpses of the future against Germany, Hart demonstrated why he is still England’s goalkeeping present against Brazil. Made three smart saves, and barely put a foot wrong. There’s a reason why Gareth Southgate is keeping the faith.


Really good. Really, really good. Not least because Gomez looked nervous in the first 15 minutes, as well he might on his first international start against the best attack in world football. From then on, he grew into the game and made several vital interceptions to stop Brazil attacks. In fact, he made eight interceptions, more than every other England player combined. Credit to Southgate for picking him. Credit to Gomez for justifying the faith.


The best central defender in England’s squad by a bloody mile. Even under significant pressure and pressing from Brazil’s front three, Stones registered a passing accuracy of 97.3% and barely looks flustered. It’s now worth making a note every time a pass actually goes astray. Two clean sheets against the best two international teams in the world makes us feel proud as punch, even in friendlies. Cheers Pep.


Too often nervous in possession during the first half, including an occasion when all he could do was panic and kick the ball straight out of play, Maguire was easily the weakest of the three central defenders. Still, that’s only an insult by comparison to two excellent displays, and this was hardly a disaster. Maguire might be England’s sixth-choice central defender (Stones, Jones, Cahill, Keane, Gomez), and I’m absolutely fine with that.


A tinge of disappointment, but also entirely understandable in the circumstances. Walker’s biggest asset is his ability to surge forward down the right wing and provide overlaps for his wide forward, but that’s impossible when you are up against Neymar and Marcelo, probably the best left flank in world football. Brazil’s lack of goals still makes this a successful night for Walker, who is guaranteed to be first choice on this form.


One of the worst performers, sadly. The long-term absence of Danny Rose made us muse whether Bertrand was actually England’s first-choice left-back now, but the move to 3-4-3 doesn’t help his cause and neither will performances like that. Bertrand was far too jittery in possession and was twice robbed of the ball in dangerous areas. His passing accuracy of 65% – 14 percentage points lower than anyone else in the back five – epitomises those struggles. Shame.


Our worry was that Dier would be exposed as a defensive midfielder, and that almost came to pass against Brazil. He got away with a dreadful backpass and was dispossessed or gave the ball away three times in dangerous areas. Still, Brazil did not take advantage. I prefer him in a back three, but that leaves the holding midfielder cupboard entirely bare. So there he stays. And he’s captain, for now.


“His form for West Brom has been encouraging over the last two games,” said ITV’s commentator, and inadvertently said it all in 13 words. I’ve nothing against Livermore, but he looked so far out of his depth against Brazil that he needed armbands, float and rubber ring. Please can this extended experiment end soon?


Thwarted Neymar a couple of times and looked confident on the ball on more than one occasion, but was scuppered by injury after 34 minutes. Still, has done enough to merit Premier League scrutiny between now and March. Don’t book a summer holiday.


Hardly the easiest night, given that his team had 35% possession, but Rashford is still a willing runner and was the most likely to cause Brazil’s defence problems. He played in the Eden Hazard role, dropping very deep to pick up possession and then dribbling 30 or 40 yards forward. Given that doing so often involved having to beat at least two Brazilian defenders, Rashford can be pleased with his output. Is it a case of him or Raheem Sterling to start with Dele Alli and Harry Kane?


Tough. A wonderful touch in the opening moments, but left isolated by Rashford and Lingard having to drop deep. Twenty-one touches in 74 minutes is not what a pest like Vardy sees as a good night’s work, and he averaged less than one completed pass every ten minutes. Still, with an entire England first-choice front three missing, Vardy should not sweat on his place on the plane. This was always likely to be a fruitless task.



Jesse Lingard (for Loftus-Cheek, 34)
Your absolutely standard 6/10 England Jesse Lingard performance. If his place on the plane is at the expense of someone 21 or under, I’ll be sad.

Dominic Solanke (for Vardy, 75)
Hey, he looked bright. Which is another tick for Southgate’s selection. The England manager is being proactive!

Tammy Abraham (for Rashford, 75)
Five touches. Would be slightly harsh to cast judgement on that sample size.

Ashley Young (for Bertrand, 81)
A wonderful saving tackle to mark his unlikely return to international football. Forever Young.

Danny Rose (for Livermore, 90)
He has a new-ish hair cut.

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