The Usual Suspects
Skysports.com's Alex Dunn offers his assessment of how each of England's squad performed.
Last Updated: 01/07/10 9:06am
Fabio Capello and his England side are heading back to the country after Sunday's horror show against Germany and the inquest into what went wrong has already started. Capello has sat down with Club England chairman Sir Dave Richards to discuss his future, with some sections of the media clamouring for his departure. The Italian insists he is the man to lead England in the future, with the Football Association to deliberate on the matter over the next fortnight. It was on the pitch though, rather than in the boardrooms, where England have underperformed the most. Here, skysports.com's Alex Dunn offers his assessment of how each of England's squad performed as individuals, offering his rating, along with their Sky Player Rating (FSB).
Robert Green (Appearances 1)
Fabio Capello's surprise choice to start against USA endured the proverbial 'mare as his gaffe allowed Clint Dempsey's tepid shot from range to sneak past him. The West Ham man was relegated to the sidelines thereafter as his World Cup horror show set a blueprint his team-mates followed to a tee.
skysports.com rating 3, FSB player rating 4
David James (Appearances 3)
The 39-year-old felt he should have started the tournament as Capello's first choice and was decent enough when reinstated following Green's aberration. Solid displays against Algeria and Slovenia secured him two clean sheets from three appearances but his performance against Germany was mixed. Two excellent stops in the first half prevented Joachim Low's side from running riot further, but questions will be asked over his part in Lukas Podolski's angled drive that went through his legs and Thomas Muller's first effort that seemed to go through him.
skysports.com rating 6, FSB player rating 5
Joe Hart (Appearances 0)
Did not play. Will draw consolation from the fact Green looks some way from being international class and James will be eligible for free bus travel in a couple of years.
Glen Johnson (Appearances 4)
Should feel fortunate that England have a dearth of options at right-back. When on-song the Liverpool man is a potent attacking force, unfortunately he was more Jedward than Pavarotti in South Africa. He is so defensively naive he should have a 'skin me' sticker on his back, with his positional sense more suspect than OJ Simpson asking if he can borrow your gloves. Until he learns to defend he will remain nothing better than the best of a bad bunch, although he could excel as a wing-back if England ever revert to playing with a back three - which they won't.
skysports.com rating 5, FSB player rating 6.1
Jamie Carragher (Appearances 2)
It's likely Carragher will be sat on the plane home wishing he'd done as Paul Scholes did and politely rejected Capello's request to come out of international retirement. After coming on against USA due to Ledley King's injury (quelle surprise) he looked like a Weight Watcher chasing a doughnut attached to a greyhound as Hull City sub Jozy Altidore eased past him. He was later booked and after clocking up another yellow in the Algeria - insomnia cure - game, never regained his place from Matthew Upson. Will not be seen again.
skysports.com rating 5, FSB player rating 4.7
Ledley King (Appearances 1)
The Tottenham man continues to command a reputation for being world class despite the fact he spends more time on the treatment table than the love child of Bryan Robson and Darren Anderton. Capello thought he was worth the gamble but the only thing more predictable than the sight of him failing to reappear for the second half of England's opener was Adrian Chiles dying on his derriere throughout ITV's World Cup coverage.
skysports.com rating 4, FSB player rating 3.8
John Terry (Appearances 4)
Anyone else bored to tears with JT droning on about Wazza, Lamps, JC, Stevie and the boys? His ill-judged press conference after the Algeria debacle in which he said the boys and the manager were going to thrash it out stank of self-importance and smacked of self-indulgence. This was JT showing the world who the real skipper in the England camp is but the sound of silence coming from the other players spoke more than a thousand ill-placed words. "A very big mistake," stated Capello afterwards as Terry put in a decent display against a limited Slovenia before being exposed woefully against the Germans. He is what he is - an old fashioned centre-half who throws himself into every challenge with gusto but against the very best, without Ricardo Carvalho to mop up behind him, is too slow and cumbersome. By the start of the new Premier League season he'll be throwing out phrases that start with 'world class' like confetti at a wedding when in reality, in South Africa, JT and the boys were anything but.
skysports.com rating 4, FSB player rating 6
Matthew Upson (Appearances 2)
Hard not to feel a little sympathy for Upson. Should we really feel surprised that a badly out of sorts defender, who's just endured a miserable campaign at a club that just about beat the drop, should struggle against Miroslav Klose, a man who's scored 50 goals in 99 international appearances? Upson is an honest pro who was elevated above his status in South Africa and while he coped against Slovenia, was always going to come up short against the superior technical skills and movement of the Germans.
skysports.com rating 4, FSB player rating 6.8
Ashley Cole (Appearances 4)
It would be over egging it to say Ashley Cole has completed his metamorphosis from national villain to hero but Cole is one of the few in Capello's squad to come home with his reputation unscathed. Despite being left exposed on the left by Gerrard's natural inclination to move inside, Cole was tidy at the back for the most part and got forward well when the opportunity arose. There was nothing spectacular about his performances but given the nature of the displays around him, his shone out as a rare beacon of hope for the future.
skysports.com rating 7, FSB player rating 6.6
Stephen Warnock (Appearances 0).
Did not play.
Michael Dawson (Appearances 0).Did not play.
Aaron Lennon (Appearances 2).
Despite winning Capello's trust in starting England's first two matches, Lennon soon reverted to type - no final delivery. Lennon looks like a world beater on his day but has surely been on the scene long enough now to be able to put in a competent cross once in a while. The Spurs flyer has never established himself with England and until he learns to play with his head up and gain a greater understanding of what is going on around him, will remain on the periphery.
skysports.com rating 4, FSB player rating 5.5
Shaun Wright-Phillips (Appearances 3).
See Aaron Lennon.
skysports.com rating 4, FSB player rating 3.5
Frank Lampard (Appearances 4).
Yet another 'world class' star who fails to replicate his club form on the international arena. At Chelsea he's the main man and maybe it requires a manager strong enough to give him the same responsibility for England. Despite all the pouty mouthed protests to the contrary, Lampard and Gerrard cannot play together in the same team. The pair are far too similar to complement one another and regularly occupy the same space and make the same runs. Diego Maradona has shown the world doesn't end if you leave out top talent and Capello - or his replacement - needs to stand up and make tough decisions. To be fair, against Germany, he at least had his shooting boots on in scoring a 'goal' that never was and crashing the bar.
skysports.com rating 5, FSB player rating 7
Gareth Barry (Appearances 3).
It comes to something when a whole nation convinces itself it'll be alright when Gareth Barry returns to full fitness. Capello broke his golden rule of never picking unfit players when taking Barry to South Africa and he probably wishes he never had now. Barry is a thoroughly likeable human being and a good Premier League player but to suggest he holds the key to a successful World Cup campaigns suggests a trip to Timpson is required. Like Rooney, he looked ring-rusty throughout and his chugging attempt to catch Mesut Ozil made Jeremy Kyle seem like easy to watch television.
skysports.com rating 4, FSB player rating 6.5
James Milner (Appearances 3).
After a disastrous start to his World Cup against USA the sought-after Villa man deserves credit for knuckling down and winning his place back. Against Slovenia he was England's best player and at least seems capable of finding one of his team-mates with a cross. He might not be the world beater some built him up to be, but he did enough to suggest those that are chasing his signature could be willing to tempt Martin O'Neill with mega-money offers this summer.
skysports.com rating 6, FSB player rating 5.5
Steven Gerrard (Appearances 4).
Much scrutiny has been placed on how Gerrard was used, or more pertinently misused, by Capello in South Africa. It seems the majority of press and fans were united by a conviction Gerrard would have been best served in an advanced role behind Rooney. However, whether we played 4-4-2, 4-5-1 or 4-4-1-1 we'd still be on the plane home because the fact remains on a technical level we are light years behind the world's finest. Gerrard had a decent game against USA but I must have missed his other significant contributions. Does Gerrard really deserve the golden halo that hovers above him given he's won 84 caps to date and shone in about a dozen of them?
skysports.com rating 6, FSB player rating 7.9
Joe Cole (Appearances 2).
Like Barry, Cole was seen as being the saviour that never arrived. Only two fleeting appearances were awarded to a player many in the squad reportedly wanted to start on the left hand side. Capello is unconvinced though and in that stubborn way of his, treated his schemer with the disdain one usually reserves for the eager to please but ultimately annoying puppy. Cole has shown he is capable of unlocking the door when playing under a manager who trusts him but should England be pinning their hopes on a player who Chelsea deemed surplus to requirements? We'll never know what might have happened had Cole been given more playing time, but let's not kid ourselves that he's England's Messi. He's not.
skysports.com rating 5, FSB player rating 3
Michael Carrick (Appearances 0).
Did not play.
Wayne Rooney (Appearances 4)
An enigma, wrapped in a riddle, shrouded in mystery. For whatever reason, this World Cup just didn't happen for Rooney. The back end of a majestic season for Manchester United was spent hopping on and off the treatment table and in South Africa it clearly told. Rooney cut a desolate figure from the start, with his touch off and body language suggesting he'd rather be anywhere else than playing in a World Cup he knew he was never going to fire at. Capello claims Rooney's problems were all in the head and the Italian was right in some respects, with the talisman's outburst against the England boo-boys ill-advised at best, disrespectful at worst. When you look at the relationship Maradona enjoys with Messi it does beg the question whether Capello should have indulged him in a similar fashion, a la Mr Ferguson. At 24 though, unlike many of his team-mates, his time may yet be ahead of him.
skysports.com rating 4, FSB player rating 6
Emile Heskey (Appearances 3)
Blaming Heskey for England's failure is similar to saying the worst thing about Stalin was his 'tache. It kind of misses the point to lambast a player who by his own admission is at best a limited goalscorer. Against USA the Villa man was arguably England's most effective player, with the criticism he received for not scoring when one-on-one with Tim Howard over the top. He's probably not good enough, he probably won't figure much in the future, but to suggest he is England's Achilles heel is to bury one's head in the sand without a spade handy.
skysports.com rating 5, FSB player rating 4.5
Jermain Defoe (Appearances 2)
Defoe took his chance against Slovenia with a winning goal that cemented his place against Germany. Doubts have been raised as to his international calibre and while he struggled to get into the game on Sunday it would be harsh to judge him on such a disjointed display from the whole side. Fundamentally, Defoe will score against average sides and might struggle against those of a higher calibre. Worth another look though.
skysports.com rating 6, FSB player rating 5
Peter Crouch (Appearances 2)
Despite an excellent international scoring record, Crouch remains very much on the fringes of Capello's plans. Whether it might have been worth starting Crouch in the group stages, against sides of the calibre he has netted against in the past, will be a question only Capello can answer.
skysports.com rating 5, FSB player rating 2.7
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