Slovenia 0-1 England: Player Ratings

David James

Didn’t have an awful lot to do but did it all very well. Held almost everything that came his way in another solid performance to add to his display against Algeria. Will surely be more involved against Germany but has restored a sense of security after Rob Green’s howler against the USA. 8

Glen Johnson

One awful touch early on to concede a throw had this scribe’s living room fearing for another 90 minutes of Comedy Glen, but recovered well. Didn’t have much to do in defence but made his presence felt further up the pitch, one excellent crossfield pass to Rooney giving England belief after a nervy opening ten minutes. A willingness to cut inside and cross or shoot with his left is rare for a right-back, and to be applauded. 7

Matthew Upson

A shaky start – nervy in possession and his distribution was poor. Recovered well and spared English blushes with an excellent last-ditch tackle at the death. 6

John Terry

Say what you want about the man off the pitch – and there is no disputing his press conference comments on Sunday were ill-advised – but this was an excellent performance. Only denied a goal by one of Handanovic’s many fine saves and his attempt to block a late shot with a diving header typifies the Chelsea captain’s spirit. Still a wanker though. 7

Ashley Cole

Got forward with pleasing regularity after reserved performances against USA and Algeria. Partnership with Gerrard still needs work, the full-backs forays behind the Slovenian defence often ignored by his captain. Didn’t much to do at the back but his understanding with Terry, forged at club level, will be key against Germany. 6

Gareth Barry

Poor. There is no doubt his presence in midfield gives the side balance and renders moot any further hand-wringing over the Gerrard-Lampard conundrum, but his distribution was dismal and my notebook says ‘GB gives away’ far more than is acceptable. Will likely be tasked with looking after Mesut Ozil on Sunday and looks up to the task defensively, but cannot afford to keep surrendering possession so easily. 5

Frank Lampard

Subdued once again in a role rather more withdrawn than the one he plays for his club. Still doesn’t look like scoring but was quietly effective spraying the ball around England’s midfield. Stung Handanovic’s palms, finally getting a long-range free kick on target, and one trademark burst from deep almost paid dividends, the Slovenian keeper out quickly to prevent him stealing onto a Rooney through-ball. 6

Steven Gerrard

Left his station on the left wing frequently in the opening ten minutes, forcing Rooney to drift out wide to restore balance. Soon hugged the left touchline in a disciplined performance, and linked well with Rooney to create several chances. Needs to pay more attention to Ashley Cole bombing on outside him: still all too willing to cut inside and pass square. 7

James Milner

Far better without the ball than with it. Pressed high up the pitch and worked tirelessly to prevent Slovenia building from the back. One marvellous spell in the first half saw three perfect crosses whipped into the box in the space of five minutes. Faded badly in the second half and Capello’s decision not to replace him was an odd one. Reliable delivery from out wide makes him presumptive nominee for the right wing slot going forward. 7

Jermain Defoe

Much like Milner. Ran his socks off up front closing down Slovenian defenders but had barely touched the ball before his decisive contribution gave England the lead. Clearly a superior option to Emile Heskey if England want to keep the ball on the ground and can actually score goals, which helps. 7

Wayne Rooney

Subdued and still a little sulky. Clearly doesn’t trust Milner, ignoring the Villa man in good positions out wide even after his spell of pinpoint crossing gave England the lead. Worked well with Gerrard and was only denied a first World Cup goal by Handanovic’s fingertips. Needs to improve significantly if England are to progress. 6

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2 Responses to Slovenia 0-1 England: Player Ratings

  1. Andy says:

    Was amazed at how many times Rooney blanked Milner to go on and shoot himself. Any other player and we’d be stringing him up for being selfish, but apparently it’s a sign that Wayne’s getting his confidence back. I’d take another goal over Rooney’s peace of mind any day.

  2. Andy says:

    Oh, and I think you’ve been harsh on AC. Thought he deserved a seven – made some great runs and most of the one-touch passing on the left side was down to him. And, more than anything, looked comfortable throughout.

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