Queens Park Rangers midfielder Joey Barton has given his take on England’s performance against Norway at London’s Wembley Stadium on Wednesday.
The Three Lions began their recovery from a disastrous 2014 World Cup campaign with a narrow 1-0 win in the friendly international. A Wayne Rooney penalty midway through the second half proved to be the difference between the two sides.
It was a dire display from the 1966 World Cup winners, who had just two of their 14 shots on target against the Norwegians.
‘He (Wilshere) needed a big performance, but he didn’t deliver’, the 32-year-old Englishman wrote on his official website. ‘His passing and forward runs were nowhere near where they should have been, and he seems to pull out of tackles too much for me.
'If you’re going to play two in midfield they both need to be able to get stuck in, and they both need to be able to create. Obviously some players will excel in one area or the other, but a basic level of aggression and willingness is a prerequisite in an England shirt. Only one of them had anything like that desire last night’.
Barton, though, was satisfied with the shift put in by Liverpool duo Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge, but felt that their style of play stifled Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney from playing his ‘normal game’.
‘Just as at Manchester United, Rooney doesn’t get to play in his preferred position and his, and the team’s, effectiveness is reduced as a result’, added Barton. ‘We shouldn’t allow that to happen to our best player’.
Well, if Rooney did indeed fail to play his natural game against Norway, then he may just get the chance to do so against Switzerland on Monday, as Sturridge has been ruled out with a thigh injury (click here to read more).