Rating the players
England continued their preparations for the World Cup in Brazil with a 3-0 victory over Peru at Wembley. Adam Bate talks us through the performances as we give you the chance to offer your own verdict on the efforts of Roy Hodgson's team...
By Adam Bate
Last Updated: 30/05/14 10:53pm
Daniel Sturridge's superb curling effort from the edge of the area set England on their way to a convincing win over Peru at Wembley. Second-half goals from Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka completed the 3-0 victory and Roy Hodgson's team will now cross the Atlantic as they step up their preparations for Brazil.
There were plenty of positives for Hodgson, but issues to be addressed too as England occasionally appeared sloppy defensively. Perhaps the chief concern will be the balance of the forward line as Wayne Rooney failed to find any real chemistry with the in-form Sturridge. Adam Bate talks us through it...
It was only December when Costel Pantilimon was being chosen ahead of Joe Hart for Manchester City and concerns were being raises about the performances of the England No.1, but the 27-year-old goalkeeper has succeeded in allaying any fears since then. Hart looks to be taking his consistent form at club level into the summer and it was needed here as he was forced into two good saves in the first half - coming off his line well each time.
Kyle Walker's injury problems ended any doubts about Glen Johnson's status as England's first-choice right-back but that doesn't mean there are no doubts about his defending. There was a sloppy moment when playing an opponent onside and some careless touches too, with Phil Jagielka coming to the rescue in the second half after a particularly heavy touch in his own half.
However, the Liverpool man showed once more that he can also make things happen going forward and it was his quick thinking that prompted Daniel Sturridge to strike the opener. Another positive was highlighted by the way he comfortably shifted to left-back once Leighton Baines was withdrawn. Even so, it's safe to assume cutting out the errors will be the message from the boss.
With the likes of John Terry and Rio Ferdinand long gone and the progress of Phil Jones and Chris Smalling having stalled, Phil Jagielka has established himself as one of the two safest bets at the heart of the England defence. There was evidence of why against Peru with one fine block in the second half epitomising his wholehearted approach. But it was far from a faultless display.
A Luis Ramirez through-ball caught him square just after the quarter of an hour mark and the other side of the interval a moment of poor control saw him dispossessed with nobody on the cover. Jagielka looks a strong and confident character these days though and seemed to take it in his stride. He also showed he's a threat from set-pieces by forcing home the third goal.
Gary Cahill had already got on the scoresheet by the time his centre-back partner found the net and the Chelsea man always look capable in those situations. As England supporters look for signs of slick football it's easy to turn the nose up at the merits of set-pieces but it's a legitimate strength for England to exploit. Cahill's movement and enthusiasm were key to his goal.
Like the rest of the back-four, there were occasional lapses. In particular, Cahill's attempt to play his man offside when Johnson was in a deeper position could have proven costly. But on the whole it was a comfortable evening's work and the confidence with which Cahill carried the ball out of defence offers encouraging signs for a more progressive approach in Brazil.
With Danny Welbeck drifting inside there were plenty of opportunities for Leighton Baines to get into his stride going forwards and while it wasn't his most effective of attacking displays, he still grabbed a trademark assist from a set-piece. The way Jean Deza almost got in behind him early on was a worry but ultimately it proved an assured effort. Substituted late on as John Stones was given his international debut.
Jordan Henderson's club form has seen him pencilled in as a starter in Brazil but he needed to do more than he'd offered against Denmark last time out - and that's what happened. Henderson showed for the ball well and made 114 passes with a success rate of 91 per cent. By comparison, Steven Gerrard seemed content to take a back seat.
Against Denmark, some of that passing was a little too safe but there were times when Henderson seemed keen to try something a bit more ambitious against Peru. There were a couple of long passes early on and he provided the only through-ball of the first half. If that's a reflection of his growing confidence in an England shirt then it could bode well for the summer.
It was subdued stuff from the England skipper as not all of his long-range passes came off, but if there's anyone in the line-up with nothing to prove then it's Steven Gerrard. Indeed, his main concern was a particularly robust challenge that had Wembley wincing. A booking of his own soon followed and Gerrard trotted off just after the hour mark. There are bigger battles ahead.
Southampton's Adam Lallana has been carried into the World Cup squad on a wave of public goodwill and it shows in his relaxed demeanour - not afraid to try things with both feet and always open to a bit of Cruyff Turn action. In truth, he struggled to get involved early on here - making just two passes in the first 15 minutes - but eventually grew into his role as a narrow attacking midfielder, providing a bit of purpose with his dribbling. It looks like a starting slot is his to lose.
Danny Welbeck has become a Hodgson favourite on the left thanks to his ability to stretch defences with his pace, but it looked like a slightly different role against Peru. Tucked inside with Baines overlapping, he had chances to make things happen in central areas but the final touch eluded him. Welbeck certainly didn't enhance his reputation but one suspects he remains likely to start against Italy.
Wayne Rooney looked to be strolling at times and his touch was painfully heavy on a number of occasions. Little came off for him as he drifted around to the left of centre in a slightly withdrawn role. At least he tried to make things happen but a pass completion rate of 74 per cent in the first half was a reflection of his looseness in possession.
Perhaps most worryingly for England's erstwhile talisman was the greater balance that the team appeared to have once he was substituted in favour of Raheem Sterling. Debating the make-up of the England team is a national pastime and the Manchester United No.10 could do with a strong showing in the remaining warm-up games to avoid heated speculation over his role in Brazil.
The hold-up play was non-existent - Daniel Sturridge only attempted six passes in the first half - but who cares when you can finish like this? The Liverpool striker is oozing confidence at the moment and his left-footed strike from outside the box broke the deadlock just as England were looking a little short on ideas against compact opposition.
His bright movement and darting runs in behind weren't always spotted by team-mates as England opted for a patient approach but the menace was there and Sturridge's brilliant form has changed how the England striker debate is now framed. The question is no longer whether he can fit in alongside Rooney but whether Rooney can fit in alongside him...
Raheem Sterling was perceived to be unlucky to be omitted from the starting line-up and delivered a bright performance that will get tongues wagging given Rooney's underwhelming efforts. Elsewhere it was encouraging to see Jack Wilshere look close to full fitness, while John Stones got a well-earned England debut following his impressive season with Everton.
What was your take on England's efforts against Peru? Solid win or are there areas that might be exposed in Brazil? Was Daniel Sturridge your man of the match or do you think Joe Hart's saves deserve to be noted too? And what did you think of Wayne Rooney's performance? Check out our player ratings and offer your own verdict by CLICKING HERE