Football

Estonia 0-1 England: Player ratings

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England did just enough to maintain their 100% start to European Championship qualifying in Tallin this evening, but it was only by the narrowest of margins and came courtesy of a decisive free-kick from captain Wayne Rooney 16 minutes from time.

Rooney's 43rd international goal on his 99th appearance was enough to end 10-man Estonia's resistance on a night where the diamond midfield once again featured, but at times struggled to mask frustration in a 1-0 that wasn't without it's flaws.

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Triple change but diamonds are forever

Three Lions coach Roy Hodgson decided to bring Leighton Baines, Adam Lallana and Fabian Delph into his starting XI, with Raheem Sterling the most surprising omission as part of that triple change.

Lallana played at the head of a midfield diamond that saw Delph act as shield, allowing Jack Wilshere and Jordan Henderson to get forward and influence play in the final third when possible.

There was a lack of width and clinical finishing at the times for the visitors, but there were more positives than negatives for Hodgson after a third successive victory against organised but ultimately inferior opposition.

Player Ratings

Joe Hart - 6

Man City stopper was a relative passenger throughout, but did put England under some later pressure with a poor late clearance. Will need to show greater concentration levels against more ambitious teams for both club and country this season.

Calum Chambers - 7

The Arsenal youngster showed a willingness to get forward and enjoyed the space provided by England's system, but his crossing was hit and miss. A delicious delivery towards Arsenal team-mate Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain deserved far better late on.

Gary Cahill - 6

Nearly caught cold early on but always looked comfortable from there on. Chelsea fans will be relieved a key defender has enjoyed such a light workout over the last four days.

Phil Jagielka - 6

A couple of headed clearances aside it was a quiet night for the Everton star, who will need to find top form if the Toffees are not to rue the loss of John Stones to a long-term problem.

Leighton Baines - 6

Delivery not up to his usual standard and was late with a couple of poor tackles. Otherwise a routine night for the dependable full-back, but the pace of Kieran Gibbs would've been useful getting in-behind a very deep Estonia defence, particularly after the red card.

Fabian Delph - 7

More than happy to give structure to a midfield full of attacking intent, although this might not have been the night where England saw how important the Aston Villa man might be. Broke up play on a couple of occasions with typically robust challenges and now looks very comfortable at international level.

Jordan Henderson - 5

Not quite at his sharpest in possession and grew visibly annoyed when play broke down consistently in the second half. Replaced after 65 minutes and in truth it could have been sooner.

Jack Wilshere - 8 - MOTM

Easily England's most productive midfielder, continually attempting to drive his side forward and taking a few tough tackle for his troubles. The Arsenal man may be studying Andrea Pirlo and Xabi Alonso but he's far more useful bursting into dangerous attacking positions between the lines.

Adam Lallana - 6

Preferred to Raheem Sterling and didn't justify that decision despite a bright start. Stayed narrow too often and England suffered as a result against opposition they should've carved open far more easily.

Danny Welbeck - 4

A subdued display from the £16m man in truth, missing chances and unable to use his pace to find space against a defence determined to stand guard inside their own penalty area. In his defence the final ball was very poor on several occasions.

Wayne Rooney - 6

Made the breakthrough with a clever free kick and kept trying to make things happen, although he'll be annoyed a string of gilt-edged chances went begging. Should look to a positive week with England though, one that's moved him to 99 caps and six goals shy of that magic mark of 49 goals at international level.

Substitutes

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain - 7

Had 30 minutes to make his mark and looked very dangerous, getting to the byline and producing clever passes of note more often than not. Will expect to a starter if he can maintain a strong start to the season with Arsenal the next time Hodgson has to pick a competitive XI.

Raheem Sterling - 6

Came on five minutes after Chamberlain but was often crowded out. Liverpool fans will hope the decision to rest their key man helps to keep one of Europe's brightest stars fresh ahead of big matches in the Champions League over the next month.

Rickie Lambert - 5

Very little time to make an impact and in truth probably should have been introduced in place of Welbeck as a physical focal point far earlier.

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