England vs. Moldova: Player Ratings
England vs. Moldova: Player Ratings
England's 4-0 win over Moldova was a comprehensive and impressive start to four vitally important qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
It is the easiest of the four, but the importance of it was huge. Failure at this stage and the dream of Brazil was almost guaranteed to be an outside bet. But Roy Hodgon's men put in a professional performance to keep the confidence and belief high ahead of the huge away game in Kiev against Ukraine on Tuesday night.
Hodgson named a strong side capable of getting the goals that would benefit England's goal difference in the group table, but it also seemed to keep the next fixture in mind as the likes of Jack Wilshere and Rickie Lambert were rested towards the end.
The lack of attacking options was a concern for England fans and still may prove to be so, but Lambert stepped up to the plate. He is really taking the chances now and it is great to see that after all these years of lower league football, he has worked himself up to a position where he is able to provide England with the thing they need the most -- goals.
This slide show shows my ratings and brief reviews on each England player's performance against a Moldova side who, with respect, were very poor. The ratings may seem harsh when around the six level, but there was little competition for some England players on the night. However, Ukraine will be a completely different encounter and the Three Lions must be up to the test.
Joe Hart - 6
Joe Hart didn't have one save to make. It's not fair to give anything less or anything more. This is as easy as it gets for an England keeper.
Kyler Walker - 7
Walker has made a fine impression in the last two England games, and it was clear to see he is comfortable in the first team. He has won every game he has played for England.
Gary Cahill - 6
A seriously nothing game for both center backs in the England side.
Phil Jagielka - 6
Jagielka and Gary Cahill look to be the first choice defensive partnership for England now, but this was no test. They both kept the ball well though.
Ashley Cole - 6
Rested for the Ukraine game on Tuesday night, so he only played the first half. He was the usual Ashley Cole -- good.
Theo Walcott - 8
Walcott is coming of age, and is looking like one of England's major attacking options.
Steven Gerrard - 9 (Man of the Match)
The England captain's performances in recent times have disappointed, but tonight he was back to his very best in a deeper role. His passing was near perfect all night, leaving for more flow in England's play. The goal was old-school Gerrard.
Jack Wilshere - 8
His ability to break from a tight space and push forward was exciting, but his passing is something that helps England become the side they want to be.
Frank Lampard - 7
In a deeper role which is more unusual to his typical position, he impressed and helped the England midfield control the ball from start to finish.
Rickie Lambert - 8
Lambert is stepping up to take the chances, and it's great to see. His overall play was superb. His assist on Danny Welbeck's first goal was very clever. There is heart in his play too.
Danny Welbeck - 9
Except for a unjustifiable yellow card for kicking the ball away after the whistle, the game was the perfect example from Welbeck of how to silence the critics when it mattered. He will be one of England's best strikers if he continues to improve.
Sub: Leighton Baines - 7
He was an attacking threat but had little to do on the defense.
Sub: Ross Barkley - 7
As England debuts go, this was a good one. It was only brief, but he was a fraction off from finding the net in what would have been exciting style. He looks positive and full of desire, but still has lots to improve on.
Sub: James Milner - 5
He gets a lot of game time under Roy Hodgson, but it isn't always clear why. He can do a job defensively, but as shown vs. Moldova, his attacking abilities are not always the best option for England.