Fleet Street's view

Fleet Street have had their say on England's display in Basel. Here's how they rated an impressive 3-1 win.

For once, the gentlemen of the press are in positive mood as they review England's rather pleasant display, give particular praise to Adam Johnson and Phil Jagielka, and demand that Steven Gerrard is made permanent captain

There's bad news for Rio Ferdinand and Frank Lampard as Steven Howard in The Sun points out the obvious as he reviews Steven Gerrard's fine display. He believes the Gerrard-Barry axis should not be interrupted by Lampard's return to fitness. 'Relaxed, spreading the ball around with ease and linking well with Wayne Rooney, he had all the appearance of a man released from a long spell behind bars. He topped his display with a superbly-timed pass for England's killer second from Adam Johnson. 'So how can boss Capello disrupt the Gerrard-Barry axis if he wants to take the team forward? In particular, what does the Italian do when Frank Lampard is available for next month's Euro 2012 qualifier against Montenegro? 'Barry may not be ideal but his undemanding presence in midfield does bring the best out of Gerrard. And, as I said after the Reds star's inspired two-goal display against Hungary at Wembley, how can the England manager give the captain's armband back to Rio Ferdinand?' It's a view echoed by Oliver Holt for The Daily Mirror: 'Rio Ferdinand is a fine defender and a man respected by his team-mates but when he returns to full fitness, Fabio Capello should tell him he is no longer England captain. 'It is nothing to do with Ferdinand's unfortunate habit of getting a mention in dispatches whenever there's a football scandal so often he's like a latter-day Leonard Zelig...This is about Steven Gerrard, the man who has deputised for Ferdinand since the Manchester United defender damaged knee ligaments on England's first day of training in South Africa. 'Since he took over, Gerrard has handled a number of desperately difficult situations with considerable diplomatic skill and great dignity. 'He struck exactly the right note on Monday when he had to deal with the feeding frenzy surrounding the allegations about Rooney's liaisons. He answered all the questions with unswerving honesty and even some humour.' He's also played darn well. So, too, did his team in Basle, and as Oliver Kay in The Times says: 'The road to redemption is a long one, but over the space of five days Fabio Capello, Wayne Rooney and the rest of this England team have done just about everything possible to leave their monstrous recent past behind them. Mr Kay sounds quite giddy with what he saw: 'The sight of Phil Jagielka performing solidly alongside Joleon Lescott in central defence, and Gerrard looking liberated in central midfield in the absence of Lampard, will bring some much-needed intensity to the competition for places. 'That, really, is a debate for another day. For now it is more satisfying to delight in the assured defensive display of Jagielka, the excellence of Ashley Cole at left back, the dynamism of Gerrard in midfield, the graft and craft of James Milner and Adam Johnson on the wings and, of course, Rooney's rediscovery of his ability to be in the right place at the right time as opposed to ... well, you know the rest.' We certainly do. Sam Wallace of The Independent was equally impressed: 'This was a performance from Fabio Capello's team that has not been bettered since the 5-1 defeat of Croatia at Wembley 12 months ago. 'In fact, it was exactly the way in which the England manager rather hoped his team would play in South Africa. They were fluent, well-organised and passed the ball well at times in the first half, including one move that swung from left wing to right and back again and - but for a Swiss intervention - might have provided the most memorable goal of Capello's reign. 'In Adam Johnson, a goalscorer for the second time in two games, there was evidence that England have unearthed a player who will go on to have a significant international career. Johnson came on for the injured Theo Walcott within the first 10 minutes and, despite the occasional misjudgement that prompted Capello to roar at him, looked like he has a case for promotion to the starting XI. 'The fifth- and sixth-choice central defenders Phil Jagielka and Joleon Lescott played with authority; Steven Gerrard was excellent and James Milner tireless. You have to wonder how much of a consolation it is for Capello that this is all coming together nicely about three months too late for the World Cup finals. At least the heat is off him for now.' In general, there's plenty of focus on Rooney and plenty of praise for Gerrard. However, it was the performance of another Liverpool-based player who caught Alan Smith's eye for The Daily Telegraph: 'Just call him Two Jags. Because after only two competitive games for England, Jagielka is starting to resemble the high performance sort capable of settling down very well in this environment. 'In Tuesday night's extremely accomplished team display, he didn't just do his bit, Jagielka took another step towards staking a strong claim for a regular slot next to John Terry. 'It's the pace of the man that so appeals, the ability to turn on the afterburners and close down danger with a sharp burst. A poor Switzerland side, admittedly, didn't offer too much of a threat, but Jagielka's timely interventions following good anticipation suggest he can handle better opponents than Eren Derdiyok. 'Not only that, the likeable Jagielka wasn't afraid to take the leader's role in the middle of that back four by, when needed, pushing out the unit with an aggressive shout.' The Guardian's chief scribe Paul Hayward had words of encouragement for England's wing men. 'But there is another new spark in England's attacking play. For years they searched for reliable wide boys - from Stewart Downing to Shaun Wright-Phillips and Aaaron Lennon - and now finally they have a found a pair in Theo Walcott and Adam Johnson, even if Walcott lasted less than 10 minutes before departing with a heavily strapped ankle. His replacement, Manchester City's Johnson, combines audacity with cunning, on either wing. His second-half goal showed there is an outcome to go with his speed and dexterity. 'Milner's tenacity in wide areas is another virtue which Capello is now using to bring Gerrard in from his personal wilderness on the left. On that side Ashley Cole is still on overdrive as if fleeing a private forest fire. Soon we may need a special sliding scale (a Capello Index?) to measure emotional difficulty against performance, with super-injunction ratings thrown in.'

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