England vs Germany: How did they do?

Date published: Saturday 26th March 2016 11:43

Jack Butland: Okay, so the generous assessment: Butland was injured and so couldn’t get down to Toni Kroos’ shot. He left the field in tears and you have to feel sympathy for him.

The reality: Butland’s poor kicking gave possession away on at least three occasions. The last of those three led to the opening goal. Butland was injured, but injured himself diving out to collect an overhit pass that was going out of play two minutes earlier. Why did he not throw the ball out of play then? He also turned down a short pass to kick it long despite being injured, giving away the ball, and was then unable to stop a shot he otherwise should have saved. He left the field in tears and you have to feel sympathy for him.

We’ve long answered the questions about whether Butland should be No. 1 over Joe Hart by shaking our head vigorously. We won’t stop now.


Nathaniel Clyne: My long-held belief on England Clyne is that he reflects the side as a whole, struggling when we’re under pressure and flourishing when we’re on top. That probably indicates that he isn’t a brilliant defender. Completed five passes in the first half and played Mario Gomez onside for the disallowed goal even before losing him at the back post for Germany’s second. Then promptly played superbly as England surged back, including the cross for Jamie Vardy’s equaliser. Walker really does have a chance to usurp him, y’know.


Danny Rose: Hard not to be impressed with how Rose refused to go into his shell despite trailing 2-0 in Germany on his England debut. We’ll always have doubts about his defending against a top-class winger (although his recovery pace helps him out), but no England left-back is perfect. If Luke Shaw isn’t fit, it’s La Vie En Rose in France this summer.


Gary Cahill: Actually pretty chuffed for Cahill, who received a fair bit of pre-match stick for having the temerity to be named England captain in Wayne Rooney’s absence. Defended pretty well for the majority, doing well against Gomez in the air in open play. Central defence is definitely the weakest area of this England team, but Cahill’s hardly a blundering idiot.


Chris Smalling: See this is the thing. Smalling is very much like Vincent Kompany, in that a team looks far more secure for his presence, yet occasionally he will drop a ricket that makes him look utterly foolish. Smalling misjudged the bounce of the ball so badly during an incident the second half that it made him look like a puppy trying to jump up and bite a cloud. Still, John Stones is the only pretender to the throne, and he isn’t starting club matches in central defence.


Jordan Henderson: England’s worst player? Yeah, probably. It’s not that Henderson is abject, it’s that it’s almost indecipherable what he actually does for most of the time. He is England’s jack of all trades, which somehow feels like a waste of a body. Took over responsibility from Wayne Rooney in the ‘shout at everyone for not doing the things that you also aren’t doing’ job with effortless ease. Plus point: Excellent corner deliveries, at a time when professional players regularly seem unable to do so.


Eric Dier: It was all going so well, with Dier patrolling the defensive midfield area with grace. But international starting places are not earned by doing most things right, and there is no doubt that Dier stood off Kroos as he prepared to shoot. Still, he’s 22 and this was a big ask against a big team, so still far more ticks than crosses. Added to that summation with his winning goal in stoppage time. Booked.


Dele Alli: England’s best player, hungry when pressing and bright when in possession. Alli did waste a chance when deciding to head at goal from the edge of the area rather than take down the ball and shoot, but otherwise carried on his Tottenham form on the international stage by looking ridiculously well-rounded for a 19-year-old. If, as seems likely, it comes down to a question of Alli or Ross Barkley in this position, we hope Barkley likes wearing a bib. We’ll ignore the horror miss if you will.


Adam Lallana: Lallana was No. 23 on our last ladder, and there is very much that kind of feeling to his performances for England. One moment you watch him beat his man, or press the opposition to win the ball, and think he could be an integral part of Hodgson’s team. Then he goes quiet for five minutes at a time. The best way to describe Lallana is that he’s the type of player who gets given a 5/10 by one paper and 8/10 by another. Impossible to fathom.


Danny Welbeck: Stick by what we say every bloody time: Welbeck’s presence just makes England better. His ambition and desire is infectious, epitomised by the way he chased down a lost cause and robbed Emre Can of the ball in the second half. Welbeck did delay too long over his chance before the break, but his link-up play makes England tick. He’s Das Guy.


Harry Kane: Took his goal superbly well after a quiet night until that point. Still, that’s plenty enough to convince us that he should start ahead of Rooney in France, if only for the mood that having young, ambitious players in the team provokes. This was the first time Kane has scored as a starter for England, which is a big tick in a previously empty box.



Fraser Forster (on for Butland, 44): A quiet evening, having been called into unexpected service. Tipped over a free kick like a tall man easily picking something off a shelf. Honestly, Forster is so big; it’s like a bedside table sat on top of a wardrobe.

Jamie Vardy (on for Welbeck, 71): Oh dear goodness. An astonishing way to score your first England goal, and surely a huge shove for Uncle Roy to give him a seat on the plane. You don’t have to like the man (and I don’t), but you can’t doubt the execution of the shot and rapidity of the rise. Chat Scheisse…

Ross Barkley (on for Lallana, 71): Did nothing wrong, and yet it feels like Barkley is set to be eclipsed by Alli-mania. A pretty great option off the bench, mind.


Daniel Storey

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