Football: Man for man verdict

Steve Tongue assesses the players' individual displays
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The Independent Online
DAVID SEAMAN

Might have expected to be busier in the warm-up than the match, rather than facing a penalty in the sixth minute. Does not appear to have learnt since the World Cup how to avoid any suspicion of bringing down a forward going past him. With a bad fumble from a 30-yard drive later, lucky not to have become the first England goalkeeper to concede against Luxembourg since Ron Springett at Highbury in 1961. 5/10

RIO FERDINAND

Demonstrated his versatility by switching from back-three to play as an advanced right-back once it was clear Luxembourg had only one striker. Unlike many far more experienced England defenders, he had the confidence to run at the opposition and pose a threat around the penalty area - both in free play and from corners. 8/10

GARETH SOUTHGATE

Unhappy start with the weak header from a long free-kick that put Seaman in trouble and led to the penalty. An unwise challenge shortly afterwards might have brought a yellow card and suggested that the fabled cool might be over-heating. Settled eventually, and claimed his first international goal. 6/10

SOL CAMPBELL

Generally regarded as top man against Bulgaria, despite missing the best (only?) chance of the game, but did not touch those heights in more difficult conditions. Decided against venturing forward, except for set-pieces, one of which brought a solid header, off target. 6/10

DARREN ANDERTON

Helped to play a more natural game, rather than pretending to be a wing- back, by having Ferdinand behind him. Would have earned assists in fantasy football league for the first two goals: a neat flick with the outside of the foot for Owen and a similar one to win the penalty. Keen to go for a repeat of his Colombia goal by shooting on sight, but not often on target. Made way for Robert Lee. 6/10

DAVID BATTY

Happier than most with the conditions, which encouraged him to play the simple ball out wide after collecting from Southgate or Campbell just behind him. Worked hard, getting forward sometimes, but often sprinting back to cover as last man. Took advantage of the surface for one naughty tackle that led to Theis being carried off. 7/10

DAVID BECKHAM

Return of the Prodigal Son, though Glenn Hoddle won't be preparing any fatted calves yet. His yellow card for handball in the first half looked harsh. Described by Hoddle as "the best crosser of a ball in the country" but had little chance to prove it with Anderton and Ferdinand both outside him. 6/10

PAUL SCHOLES

Didn't quite find a niche, despite working hard. Worked a couple of one- twos early without getting in any end-product and lacked the wit to find a way through a tight defence. Might have expected more chances to improve his international scoring record. Obvious candidate to make way for Wright. 5/10

PHIL NEVILLE

Given a chance by injuries to Graeme Le Saux and Andy Hinchcliffe, but did not - probably cannot - get forward as dangerously or cross as accurately as either of them. Did manage two better crosses near the end, leading to Southgate's goal and a header that Wright ought to have put away. 6/10

MICHAEL OWEN

Hardly a touch for 15 minutes, then popped up with a goal that seemed to enliven him, perhaps banishing any self-doubt after a disappointing afternoon against Bulgaria. Will still be annoyed, after first international against whipping boys, at not getting more scoring chances. 6/10

ALAN SHEARER

Starved of service on Saturday and was entitled to have expected a few more passes and crosses to head and feet. Cool as ever with the penalty, despite long wait before being allowed to take it, and passed the 21 England goals by both Kevin Keegan and Mike Channon. 7/10

SUBSTITUTES

ROBERT LEE

Replaced Anderton, who was on a yellow card from a previous game, enabling Beckham to move out wide. Little opportunity to make up for poor performance at Wembley on Saturday.

IAN WRIGHT

Cheerleader for drenched fans before replacing Scholes, too late to make much difference, heading his one chance - a good one - wide of the target. A public vote of confidence, at least, from the coach.

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