Joe Hart & Fabio Capello are still learning international football

Switzerland 1 England 3

Rooney 10, Adam Johnson 69, Shaqiri 71, Bent 88

The lions of September won comfortably last night.

Wayne Rooney scored an early goal and played well in the first half.

Skipper Stevie G released sub Adam Johnson with a superb through-ball and the Manchester City winger waltzed round the keeper to make it 2-0.

Against Bulgaria it took 58 minutes to score the second goal. In Switzerland it took 59.

England slowed down at 2-0 and allowed bouncy teenage winger Shaqiri to fire a Pavel Nedved-type thunderbolt which swerved past Joe Hart from 25 yards.

Hart dropped the ball three times in wet conditions and allowed charging forwards to get too close to his clearances. He’s 23  and has a lot to learn.

Jermaine Defoe missed four chances and Darren Bent came on after Defoe was injured.

Then Ashley Cole played Bent through and the Sunderland striker finished beautifully with a ferocious left foot shot that flew between the keeper and the near post.

James Milner had a good game but a booking means he will be suspended for Montenegro next month. Defender Stephan Lichtsteiner was sent off for a very silly tackle on Milner in 65 minutes. That was his second yellow card.

Switzerland played better with 10 men. Which often happens.

Clearly, the first goal was the most important one. Theo Walcott did very well to bamboozle three defenders before releasing Glen Johnson, who slipped imperiously past his man and measured a low cross into the six-yard box as three white shirts ran towards the goal.

Defoe dummied the ball, Rooney slotted, and Walcott was kicked on the ankle by the defender whose run was covering Defoe. Walcott left the pitch on a stretcher and will miss the Bolton game on Saturday.

England played with lots of energy and momentum, and, at times, fluency. Barry was constructive, Ashley Cole and Milner linked well again.

Being polite, the defence is a work-in-progress.


1. Joe Hart is a very good novice who should improve quickly. He has the equipment and is the best goalkeeper we have and the next two years of his career will be an opportunity that very few goalkeepers have. If his attitude is right, and he avoids serious injury, Hart might become one of the great England goalkeepers

2. Rooney is much better in the hole. When Cristiano left Man United, Rooney moved to centre forward, scored loads of goals. But that role limits him. He’s more productive in a free role, finding gaps, creating the play. He is a proper No.10. Rooney didn’t have an assist last night but his pass completion was 82% and the manager will be happy with that.

3. Fabio Capello didn’t trust his judgement in the World Cup or after it. He had never failed on that scale before, so he was damaged. He lost his bottle but he’s now regained it. When Rooney was playing badly in the second half, Capello took him off and brought on Shaun Wright-Phillips.

You can take your best player off and sometimes you should. Having done that n a serious game, Capello can do it again. Any footballer can be substituted and Rooney’s been around long enough to know that.

4. England have a lot more width now. They were too narrow in the World Cup. If Barry plays with more authority, as he has been doing, the full backs can fly forward. If you keep men wide, you pull opponents around and create spaces in the middle. And if you make diagonal runs off the ball, you’re not as obvious as when you’re playing a pedestrian 4-4-2.

Group G now looks winnable, as most of us thought. Montenegro will not be a walkover but six points from two games is a good start and seven goals in a week cheers the nation. On a wet night in Switzerland, a 3-1 win is always encouraging. We saw four good goals last night
Strange that England finished the match with six Man City players on the field.

Things to work on? Yes, plenty of them.

England need to improve collectively because Ashley Cole and Wayne Rooney are the only world class players we have. Therefore their teamwork has to be good every time. England will need to keep the ball better and defend better. If they can do that, they can give Spain or Germany a game.

Club games start again on Saturday and Arsenal will play Bolton and Wenger won’t be happy about Fabregas making a 15 hour flight to Buenos Aires. At 2-1 to England I flicked over to ITV 4 and saw Cambiasso and Fabregas go for a 50-50 ball and Cambiasso’s studs rammed into Cesc’s right upper thigh. Ouch !

Argentina beat Spain 4-1.

Tonight my favourite TV show starts again.

 SWITZERLAND  (4-4-2): Benaglio (Wolfsburg); Lichtsteiner (Lazio), Von Bergen (Cesena), Grichting (Auxerre), Ziegler (Sampdoria); Degen (Young Boys), Inler (Udinese), Schwegler (Eintracht Frankfurt), Margairaz (FC Zurich); Frei (Basle), Derdiyok (Bayer Leverkusen). Subs used Shaqiri (Basle) for Margairaz, h-t; Streller (Basle) for Degen, 64; Costanzo (Young Boys) for Schwegler, 83.

ENGLAND (4-4-1-1): Hart (Manchester City); Glen Johnson (Liverpool), Jagielka (Everton), Lescott (Manchester City), Ashely Cole (Chelsea); Walcott (Arsenal), Barry (Manchester City), Gerrard (Liverpool), Milner (Manchester City); Rooney (Manchester United); Defoe (Tottenham). Subs used Adam Johnson (Manchester City) for Walcott, 13; Bent (Sunderland) for Defoe, 71; Wright-Phillips (Manchester City) for Rooney, 78.

Referee : Nicola Rizzoli (Italy).