The Three Lions qualified for the World Cup in Brazil with a 2-0 victory on Tuesday night – but what have we learned?
The win takes the Three Lions through to the World Cup in Brazil, and allows Roy Hodgson the comfort of not having to sit through the play-offs to qualify.
However, in the 2-0 victory, what have we learned?
Carrick a better option than Lampard
The Manchester United midfielder replaced his more-experience Chelsea counterpart, and looked assured in the win. Carrick’s range of passing and comfort on the ball in deep-lying areas has become a real feature for his club and there is no reason why he cannot command a starting berth in Brazil.
Chris Smalling is not an international right-back
With first choices Glen Johnson and Kyle Walker unavailable, Hodgson opted to play Chris Smalling at right-back. The Manchester United man is predominantly a centre-half, and his performance against Poland suggested as much.
Smalling has been used as a full-back by United, mostly due to his pace, but he looked out of sorts on Tuesday. Positionally he was a liability, while his ability on the ball was not up to an international standard. A promising player, but playing out of position and with little match practice under his belt.
Baines must be first choice at left-back
With Ashley Cole unavailable, Leighton Baines has taken his opportunity to start for England and excelled. The Everton man has put in two solid performances over the last week, contributing both in attack and defence.
The added threat of Baines’ exemplary delivery from crosses was displayed once more for Rooney’s opener and the Goodison man must now be in the driving seat for a starting place at left-back.
Townsend is not a one-cap wonder
The Tottenham man put in another captivating performance, looking really dangerous on the ball and forcing Poland to put two markers on him due to his sheer pace and trickery.
A real livewire, Townsend has the potential to be a key player for England at the World Cup if he can continue his current momentum. Well done to Hodgson for picking a player on form.
Rooney is still the main man
Regardless of the club form of Daniel Sturridge or the emergence of Townsend, Wayne Rooney is undoubtedly England’s most gifted player and an attacking talisman for the team.
The Manchester United forward is a born match-winner and the one player that could be the difference between success and failure.
image: © geetarchurchy