Gary Cahill and Steven Gerrard stand out players in England’s drab 0-0 draw with Ukraine…
GK) Joe Hart: 7
Lucky to not give away a penalty away in the opening minute, Hart didn’t have an awful lot to do in what would have been a truly miserable match for a neutral fan. Held on to crosses well, and did everything expected of him.
DR) Kyle Walker: 6
Walker is not necessarily the kind of player you want to start in this kind of ‘must not lose match’ – he prefers going forward, and is limited defensively. While the talented Konoplyanka got past him a few times, he was generally solid, but expect Glen Johnson to reclaim his spot when he’s fit again.
DC) Phil Jagielka: 7
Another solid performance from the Everton man, who was starting alongside Cahill for the fifth consecutive England match. Not as aesthetically pleasing as his central defensive partner, Jagielka helped England keep a much needed clean sheet.
DC) Gary Cahill: 8 – Man of the match
England’s stand out performer. In the aftermath of Rio Ferdinand and John Terry’s England careers, Cahill has become England’s first-choice centre-half. Dealt with everything the Ukrainians had to throw at him, and is always a danger from attacking set-pieces.
DL) Ashley Cole: 7
Very good. Cole is a brilliant defender, and did just what Roy Hodgson would have asked of him. Kept Ukraine’s other talented winger Yarmolenko quirt all match, and wasn’t tempted to venture forward.
MC) Steven Gerrard: 7
Solid – as per usual when he plays for his country nowadays. Long gone are the days when Gerrard was a dynamic box-to-box midfielder. He is remarkably disciplined however, and is arguably more effective for England than he ever has been throughout his wonderful career. The first name on Hodgson’s team sheet.
MC) Frank Lampard: 5
Was not given the freedom to roam on his 100th appearance, and it affected the 35-year-old’s performance badly. England would have arguably done better with the passing ability of Michael Carrick in the middle of the park, while Lampard is better utilised at Wembley where he can break forward.
AMC) Jack Wilshere: 6
Perhaps guilty of trying to be a little too intricate at time. It’s still nice to see a player with genuine creative ability in between the opposition midfield and defence. Gerrard’s defensive positioning gives Wilshere a free roam, and he made some promising breaks from midfield without ever taking the game by the scruff of the neck. Subbed early after giving away too many fouls.
ML) James Milner: 7
Does his job in this kind of fixture. Milner worked as hard as anyone else on the field, and it’s not surprise Hodgson trusts him implicitly in these big games. Not pretty to watch in the slightest, but just what England needed.
MR) Theo Walcott: 6
England’s best attacking threat, and probably had our best ‘chance’ (if you can call it that that) of the match very early on. Unfortunately his touch and his decision making is never quite as good as his pace.
FC) Ricky Lambert: 6
Back to reality for the Southampton man. Lambert has the ability to hold up the ball with his back to goal like the unavailable Daniel Sturridge or Danny Welbeck arguably do not. Never really posed a threat on goal, but helped England Ukraine possession, particularity in the first half. Hardly had a kick in the second.
Tom Cleverley: n/a
Came on too late.
Ashley Young: 5
Virtually unnoticeable, and lost possession late on that almost gifted Ukraine a chance.