Thursday, 10 February 2011

Denmark 1 - 2 England: Match Report - International Friendly

For once an England friendly wasn't as meaningless as we anticipated.  In fact we actually learnt something for a change.  Mostly, that Jack Wilshere is not the answer to Fabio Capello's obsessive search for a defensive midfielder.  The Arsenal starlet had a good 45 minutes in his first senior International start, making some strong but honest tackles as well as looking confident alongside the England squad veterans.  But he needs the freedom to play his natural offensive game, something that was evident when he linked up well with Wayne Rooney and Darren Bent in the 30th minute.

Rooney was definitely fitter against Denmark than in his last international.  The Manchester United star looks to be enjoying his game again, something that should please fans of both club and country.  It was his ability to get away from Christian Poulsen and cross to Bent, that enabled the former Sunderland striker to score the goal to bring England level.  The striker has played for four different clubs during his eight England caps, but this was by far his best performance.  He finally appears to have banished his stage fright as he chased every loose ball and gave Danish defenders Christian Poulsen and Daniel Agger a fright at times.

Denmark had opened the scoring at the Parken stadium after seven minutes with Liverpool player Agger heading past Joe Hart after one of the home sides many first-half corners.  The Danes threatened throughout the first half with Christian Eriksen of Ajax the source of all their endeavours.  Remember his name, because he will be linked with every top Premier League club for the rest of the season.  Nicklas Bendtner also showed that when he's not moaning to the press, he knows how to put in a good shift as he dropped deep to link up with midfield and headed a few balls out of his own box.  There was also good work from Michael Krohn-Dehli.

The second half started with the expected substitutions as Ashley Young, Scott Parker and Gareth Barry replaced Rooney, captain Frank Lampard and Wilshere respectively.  Denmark started the second-half the brighter of the two with Bendtner sending a ball over for Dennis Rommedahl, which Hart did well to block.  Like the first-half, the game carried on without incident and the first and only yellow card wasn't shown until the 90th minute when Simon Kjaer took out James Milner on the wing.  Even though both teams were committed it was clear neither side were looking to leave Denmark with any injuries.  Maybe it was the relaxed nature of the game, but Milner reminded us why Manchester City paid a reported £28 million to land him.

But it was all about the Aston Villa link in the 67th minute when Stewart Downing came on for Theo Walcott who had looked bright, particularly when sending crosses into the box early on.  Downing had only been on the pitch for sixty seconds when he pinched possession with the aid of Glen Johnson, the latter sending a sweet pass into the box for Young to score his first international goal.  That assist alone was Johnson's only decent contribution of what was a mediocre performance from the Liverpool man.  Young clearly had the scent of goal in his nostrils as he collected a pass from Downing and tried to use his pace to extend England's lead.  Unluckily, his second goal didn't come.

There is good news for Fabio though.  It looks like Jack Wilshere won't be only star who will shine brightly for England, given half a chance.

STAR MAN: James Milner - Linked up well with Ashley Cole and worked hard all over the pitch.

Feel free to comment or leave feedback.


  1. I thought Wilshere-Lampard midfield looked very balanced in the first half, one held while the other went forward. It's not something that could work with Gerrard in the team.

    In the second half it was a much more stable platform to build from, but I don't think Wilshere in a midfield 2 can be ruled out.

  2. Hi Rocco,

    I agree it worked okay, I just feel Jack has more to give when he has more freedom as we have seen at Arsenal. Asking him to sit back stifles his natural urges. I'm a believer of building a team around your players as opposed to having this set 4-4-2 and trying to fit them into it.Most of these players don't play 4-4-2 for their club, so Fabio should embrace the attacking nature.

    Let's flip the script and see what happens. The players are capable enough. And same old, same old gets us nowhere.

  3. Good match report Natasha, enjoyed it, covered all the main points, it flowed really well.

    Keep up the good work :)

  4. Thanks Andrew, I'm really glad you enjoyed it.

    Please keep reading and feel free to leave more comments,