I thought Becks' passing was brilliant, says Gerrard

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Cole conceded that the team was "getting nervous" towards the end of the match as Wales pushed forward. "We didn't control it as well in the last 15 minutes but they were throwing everything at us then."

His team-mate Steven Gerrard admitted that one of the problems had been that he was "asked to play in three different positions" - moving from the centre to the right and then left. He added: "And it takes time in a match to get used to one position."

Gerrard said that the new approach had been as a direct result of the defeat to Denmark last month. "We were outnumbered and outplayed," he said of that midfield performance. "But [against Wales] I thought we were comfortable and in control." However, he also said: "It can always be dangerous when you've only got a 1-0 lead and we invited the Welsh towards us a bit."

Unsurprisingly, both players agreed that David Beckham was capable of mastering the deep-lying role. "In that position Becks give us his passing ability," Gerrard said. "I thought his passing was brilliant. He was putting in so many balls to our front men, so I thought it went well."

Cole, and Frank Lampard, said the system differed from that used by their club team, Chelsea: "There are always slight adaptations," Cole said. "Becks is not like [Claude] Makelele but he gives you that range of passing over the top. I think it's a great system to play, especially in Europe. It's easier to keep the ball."

Lampard, who had a worryingly subdued match, said: "Becks has got different abilities, a great range of passing. He wanted to get on the ball, start a lot of attacks and he did that."

All the players expect Michael Owen to be restored to the team against Northern Ireland following his suspension. "Michael's back on Wednesday so it'll be interesting to see the shape of the team," said Gerrard. He claimed it would be possible for 4-5-1 (or 4-3-3 when attacking) to be retained. "I think this formation could work with Michael and Wayne [Rooney] in the team," he said, "because Wayne plays out wide for Manchester United."

The Wales defender Danny Gabbidon was sceptical about Rooney's effectiveness as a lone striker: "Rooney never played as a striker for the whole 90 minutes. He was always off looking for the ball and getting it from the back.

"The way he played did make it a bit easier for me because I was not always having to mark him and stay close.

"But it created a situation that was almost as difficult because it meant Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard were running at us from deep."

Owen's return and Rooney moving to the right would mean either Cole - who has a slight calf strain - or Shaun Wright-Phillips being left out. The substitution of the latter prompted discussion after the match - especially as he appeared to be improving as the game wore on. "I got more and more confident," Wright-Phillips said. "After the break I came on with fresh legs." Unfortunately, he only lasted 67 minutes.

Ashley Cole, meanwhile, paid tribute to the goalkeeper Paul Robinson - who saved brilliantly from John Hartson's first-half header. "He has that quality which is so important to us, which is concentration," Cole said. "He can pull the save out when he needs to."

Gabbidon feels Wales can now head to Poland for Wednesday's match with confidence. "It was a decent performance against England and we have to play as well again. We must show we can do it consistently. There's no point in taking England to the wire and then slacking off against the Poles."