Player ratings: City’s England six
Joe Hart – An excellent display against Bulgaria had the nation purring, and the first half against Switzerland saw Joe a spectator. It was a surprise then to see him spill the wet ball a couple of times before conceding a goal he had no chance with. The fumbles may be useful in reminding everyone he’s human and Joe shouldn’t let the headlines go to his head. Bulgaria 8. Switzerland 6.
Gareth Barry – Two more steady performances, this time alongside Gerrard, won the plaudits. His reading of the game and tidy passing is often more suited to international football. When Switzerland pressed forward in the second half there were a couple of clumsy challenges resulting in free-kicks. A reminder that when the game moves up a level, Gareth can be found wanting. Bulgaria 7. Switzerland 7.
James Milner – Played out on the left wing for the most part, Milner provided the reliability that Capello values. There were a few to many times when possession was lost and the lack of pace cost him a booking against the Swiss. On the plus side, James is capable of whipping over a dangerous cross and filled in brilliantly when Cole went on an attacking sorte. Bulgaria 7. Switzerland 7.
Adam Johnson – Picked up many peoples man of the match awards against Switzerland and justly so. Capello seems to view him as something of a raw talent, but he often appears a more intelligent player than either Walcott or Lennon. Against Bulgaria he wasted a chance, firing wide across the goalkeeper, yet noticed how the keeper had moved early. A few minutes later Adam deliberately went for the near post and scored. That cleverness allied to terrific natural ability and a willingness to attack full-backs looks set to make him a favourite with England fans as quickly as it has with City supporters. Bulgaria 7. Switzerland 8.
Joleon Lescott – There was a sneaking suspicion here that Capello would pick Lescott alongside Jagielka. It seemed sensible to reunite the former Everton pairing and Capello, typical of Italian managers, tends to go for experience in competitive fixtures. After an injury troubled season, Joleon is in danger of becoming a forgotten man and this was an opportunity he seized. Commanding in the air, solid on the ground and in his positioning, this was a timely reminder to Mancini of his qualities as a centre-back. Switzerland 7
Shaun Wright-Phillips – Capello clearly likes Shaun’s ability to come on and do a job. Darren Bent and Wright-Phillips were given the task of killing the game by catching the Swiss on the break with their pace. Shaun started on the left and played an excellent ball into the box. Then came a golden opportunity breaking on the right. Sadly a weak pass to Bent provided the abiding memory of his performance, reminding us how Shaun has never managed to eradicate carelessness from his game. Switzerland 6
Elsewhere it was a mixed night for City players. Carlos Tevez was on the scoresheet as Argentina thumped World Cup winners Spain 4-1. Vincent Kompany saw red for Belgium as they suffered a second harsh defeat in the international break.
Attention now switches to our game against Blackburn on Saturday. Thankfully our players don’t appear to have picked up any injuries while away. Whether they’ll all be refreshed by the weekend is the concern. Tevez has a long haul flight and Adam Johnson isn’t known for his stamina.
Milner and Barry played both games in full and while Milner is famed for his endurance, Barry may not be at his sharpest. Mancini, like Hughes, seems to have faith in him regardless.
- How did you rate City’s players in the international fixtures?