England played out a 1-1 draw with Ukraine at Wembley tonight. After conceding a screaming goal from Yevhen Konoplyanka England dominated possession against a side that sat deep and played well on the counter attack.
Tom Cleverley was guilty of many missed opportunities whilst Jermaine Defoe had a goal wrongly disallowed for a phantom elbow.
It was the three substitutes who eventually combined to lead to England’s equaliser. Sturridge’s ball to Bertrand was cut back first time to Danny Welbeck whose trickery forced a handball. Frank Lampard duly despatched the penalty.
England appeared to miss that killer instinct and star quality in the attacking areas to turn their possessive dominance into victory but we should not be too disheartened with the result.
Here is how the players shaped up, with a lot of variety in individual performances.
Joe Hart – 6
Had no chance with Ukraine’s goal but again didn’t look his assured self. A poor attempt at a punch from a free-kick late on summed up his indifference.
Glen Johnson – 6
I refuse to be drawn onto the Glen Johnson bandwagon. He was Good going forward but was roasted on numerous occasions down the right hand side. Switches off too often defensively.
Leighton Baines -5
Considering all players start on a 5 this is fair to Leighton who had a neither here nor there performance at left back.
Phil Jagielka – 7
Look assured and solid at the back, which was necessary opposite Joleon Lescott tonight. Put his head on the line for a late chance in a decent showing, will be content with his display.
Joleon Lescott – 4
For the second game in a row Lescott appeared clumsy and gave the ball away to a Ukrainian player who was sitting on the floor in the lead up to the goal. Despite coming good with late clearing headers as Ukraine went long to escape pressure he has failed to continue his form of last season.
James Milner – 8
A good performance from James Milner. Solid in possession and continued running to the last minute. One of England’s standout performers.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – 6
Faded in and out of the game but continues to show promise. England should persevere with this talent.
Frank Lampard – 7
Solid, controlled and the catalyst for many an attack. Not spectacular but his penalty was; rifling the ball into the net to grab England’s deserved equaliser.
Steven Gerrard – 8
Despite the sending off Stevie G still had a great game. A goal line clearance one of the pinnacles and he definitely had his passing gauge on tonight with several pin point moments off his right boot. Sending off appeared harsh personally.
Tom Cleverley- 5
Will learn from these games. Struggled to get in the game between Ukraine’s impressive Tymoshchuk and Khacheridi. Missed several chances but getting into those positions at least shows promise of a positive future.
Jermaine Defoe – 6
Wrongly had a goal disallowed after the referee misinterpreted what must have been a sniper shot from the crowd on Iarmolenko as a Defoe stiff-arm. Perhaps retribution for Ukraine’s disallowed goal at Euro 2012. Toiled away after but with little success.
Danny Welbeck – 8
Man of the match. The difference between an embarrassing defeat and a well fought draw. Made an immediate impact with his pace and strength and must be pushing for a starting spot in the England team.
Ryan Bertrand – 7
Also looked good as a substitute. His hooked cross created the penalty moment as he pressed on well late. The future of England’s left back position looks secured.
Daniel Sturridge – 6
Had good and bad moments. Good ball to Bertrand lead to the England goal and wasn’t afraid to do the dirty work tracking back. Still has a tendency to hold the ball for too long.
images: © whereareyousimon