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Germany 1 England 0 – England Player Ratings

Thursday 23rd March 2017
Another confident England performance in a friendly against one of the world's leading sides brings renewed confidence to the nation, but we have been here before.

In a game that saw England experiment with a back three, it was appropriately decided by a wonderful shot into the top corner by Lukas Podolski, on his testimonial night. Nevertheless, despite the defeat, there are lots to be positive about as the World Cup qualifiers resume on Sunday against Lithuania at Wembley Stadium (kick-off 5pm).

Here are my ratings (out of 10) for the England side:

Joe Hart (Torino) - 6

A mixed night for Hart. There was a risky (albeit successful) Cruyff turn in a quiet first half. In the second period, Hart was guilty of a poor punch that fell to the feet of Julian Brandt who shot just wide from 12 yards. This, however, was followed, later, by a fantastic save diving low to prevent Sane from doubling Germany's lead. Hart will be feeling the pressure as he moves to within four caps of Gordon Banks with Forster, Heaton and, when fit, Butland all suitable candidates for the number 1 jersey.

Gary Cahill (Chelsea) – 6

Cahill was one England player who should have felt at home in a back three formation that has been so successful for Chelsea this season. Captain, Cahill was comfortable throughout the night making a number of important blocks and challenges. However, he was lucky not to concede a first-half penalty when he appeared to block a cross into the box with his arm. It wasn't given but many refs would have blown.

Chris Smalling (Manchester United) – 6.5

A quiet night for Smalling who look assured in the back three. Displaying a confidence from his club performances, he looked at ease playing out from the back and moving out wide to provide cover when needed. Was substituted late in the game for John Stones.

Michael Keane (Burnley) – 6

Burnley ace Keane had a solid debut. It could have been the dream debut but he struck an early shot high over the bar. Keane displayed defensive discipline and flexibility even putting in a cross during a confident first half. His concentration dropped in the second half as he was caught out of position twice with Podolski first, then Sane getting goal side but he will have enjoyed and learnt from the experience.

Ryan Bertrand (Southampton) – 5

Not his best game for his country. Bertrand failed to use the freedom of a back three to get forward enough and when he did his delivery was often found wanting. Got caught offside carelessly late in the game. Defensively though generally solid but more would be expected of a wing back.

Jake Livermore (WBA) – 6.5

WBA first outfield England international since 1984, Livermore started brightly. He won possession, unsettled the German midfield and displayed a range of passing. He was confident showing for the ball but faded as the game went on. Still a promising debut and didn't look out of place against world class opposition.

Eric Dier (Tottenham) – 7

Still only 23 years old, Dier demonstrated his big match experience. He was positional sound providing protection and cover for the back three. Always looked to play from deep he never panicked. Some strong tackles and timely interceptions he was integral to England's ability to keep possession. Also offered an attacking threat and could have scored with a first-half header while a second half shot was well saved.

Kyle Walker (Tottenham) – 7

Walker did as expected offering England an attacking outlet in a wide position. He got forward on many occasions and put in some good crosses. His pace was always a threat and he did a job defensively as well.

Adam Lallana (Liverpool) – 6.5

One of the most improved players this season, Lallana linked play well especially with Dele Ali. He was unlucky in the 31st Minute when he hit the post following a lung-bursting run from the half way line. He showed plenty of skill and some nice touches. Was substituted in the 65 min.

Jamie Vardy (Leicester) – 7

Vardy took his resurgence in form at Leicester into the international arena. Always on the move, he pressed high forcing the German team into many errors particularly in the first half. His pace took him clear in the 5th minute when he appeared to be fouled by German keeper Ter Stegen. In the second period, he got clear of the German defence almost capitalising onto a couple of long passes into space. Never gave the German defence a moment peace.

Dele Alli (Tottenham) – 8.5 Man of the Match

Alli shows that England can produce technically gifted players. Enjoying the space between midfield and attack Alli was class. Combining well with Lallana and Vardy he was full of tricks and touches. One particular piece of skill left two German players for dead as he burst into the box. Sadly Alli's all action display was not capped with a goal when he should have done better with a shot in the 41st minute with just the keeper to beat.

Subs: Nathan Redmond (65 mins) 6, Marcus Rashford (69 mins) 6.5, Jesse Lingard (70 mins) 6, Luke Shaw (82 mins), James Ward-Prowse (82 mins), John Stones (85 mins).

Manager: Gareth Southgate – 7

A new formation and some welcome debuts, Southgate seems to be tactically aware and brave enough to make big decisions. His England side played without fear, won the ball back then kept hold of it.

Southgate is looking more and more at home as an international manager.
Allan Kemp

Born in Suffolk but a Norwich City supporter who is currently trying to swap a career in finance with one in football writing. I am an FA level 2 coach and also a published author, my book of Hall of fame - Norwich City's - All-Time Greats is available from all good bookshops. I currently have a weekly column on Norwich City website - 'My Football Writer' as well as writing book reviews on 'Its Round and Its White'.

Total articles: 55

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