England player ratings – a tale of wasted opportunities

A surreal game that was easy to rate simply because the vast majority of the players were poor and, in some cases, very poor.

The unavoidable fact is that England’s ‘B’ team was simply not as good as Belgium’s ‘B’ team, which is worrying as it demonstrates England’s chronic lack of depth and the extent to which they are reliant on a handful of players.

That said, Southgate’s chosen formation did not help matters. With Belgium matching two midfield enforcers in the shape of Fellaini and Dembele against Delph and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, too much was expected of Dier who is simply not a creative player. As a result, England spent much of the game on the back-foot and were made to look poor by an average Belgium team.

 

Jordan Pickford 4/10

Pickford was found wanting a few times in this game, spilling the ball on one occasion and pushing it back into dangerous areas on several others. This may or may not have been deliberate but it does not instil confidence in those in front of him and his decision-making will have to be better against more ruthless opposition.

Trent Alexander-Arnold 6/10

Alexander-Arnold took most of England’s corners and free-kicks and his delivery from set-pieces were generally good. Cannot be faulted for effort but his passing and crossing accuracy in open play could have been better.

Gary Cahill 6/10

Did make one goal-line clearance but overall his performance was average. No massive mistakes but he hardly stood out.

John Stones 5/10

Played professionally when required but was hauled off at half-time as a precaution. Did just enough to show that he was bothered but not much more.

Phil Jones 4/10

Had a chance to put down a marker but failed. He was out-muscled more often than not, especially in the air, and did not instil confidence.

Danny Rose 6/10

Was busy and his rating would have been better had he not been found wanting for Adnan Januzaj’s goal. One of the few players to make a case for inclusion in the first team, but barely.

Eric Dier 4/10

Was not helped by Southgate’s tactics which left him few options when in possession. That should have been the cue for driving runs through the middle but he rarely ventured out of his own half, thus inviting pressure on the defence.

Ruben Loftus-Creek 6/10

Shackled by the Belgian midfield, Lofus-Cheek was unable to show off his undoubted talent. Had one clear-cut chance to score from a corner but headed the ball inexplicably wide.

Fabian Delph 6/10

Lacked the muscle to win his duel with Fellaini and some of his passing was less than decisive but he did at least attempt to dribble the ball at times. While he was probably the best of England’s midfielders, he did not do anywhere near enough to show that he can displace anyone in the first team.

Marcus Rashford 4/10

Should have scored when one-on-one with Courtois after Vardy put him clean through but fluffed his lines. Was admittedly starved of service but at no stage did he look dangerous and the Belgium defence hardly broke a sweat containing him.

Jamie Vardy 4/10

No threat at all. England tried to capitalise on his pace by playing long, hopeful balls over the top but they were either over-hit or he his mistimed his runs. He ran all night long as is his trademark but was easily neutralised and has probably played his only game at this World Cup.

Subs

Harry Maguire 5/10

Provided England with something they desperately needed: driving runs at the Belgium midfield and defence, which created space for those around him. Other than that, was unable to shine in a generally shambolic team showing.

Danny Welbeck 5/10

Did nothing, but was actually more of a danger than the strikers who started the game, which tells you all you need to know.

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