Football Features

“A defensive right-back who can’t defend” – Player ratings as Poland peg England back late on to earn a 1-1 draw in Warsaw

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 22:16, 8 September 2021 | Updated: 17:46, 10 September 2021

In a noisy night of football, Poland pegged England back in stoppage time to pull off a deserved 1-1 draw.

The Three Lions took the lead through a thunderbolt from Harry Kane but then didn’t make a single substitution despite his team tiring; so Poland kept on pushing and got themselves an equaliser at the end.

Here’s how the players rated at Stadion Narodowy:

Poland

Wojciech Szczesney – 4 – Wasn’t troubled by the England attack until Harry Kane had a punt from 35 yards at which point the former Arsenal man duly disgraced himself with a dive so delayed it felt like he was working on dial-up internet. Yes, Kane’s shot was nice, but no goalkeeper worth a damn is letting that go in.

Pawel Dawidowicz – 8 – Had to work a bit harde than his team-mates, dealing with the movement of Jack Grealish and Mason Mount, but he acquitted himself well in the face of such pressure.

Kamil Glik – 7 – On a one-man mission to antagonise the entire England squad. Glik did nevertheless defend well and marshaled his defence nicely until he was subbed off hurt.

Jan Bednarek – 8 – Was absolutely immense in terms of getting the ball out of harm’s way. Made a game-high 10 clearances.

Grzegorz Krychowiak – 7 – Battled brilliantly for an hour but picked up a yellow and was notably tiring. Subbed off.

Kamil Jozwiak – 6 – Worked hard up and down the right.

Karol Linetty – 6 – Lost in the shuffle.

Jakub Moder – 7 – Battled well in the middle of the park and pulled off a sensational turn in the dying moments to completely shatter England’s defensive resistence.

Tymoteusz Puchacz – 6 – Defended nicely and raided well down Poland’s left, helping to get at Walker and Stones. Produced little, however, and it was telling the goal came from his zone but only after he had been taken off.

Adam Buksa – 5 – Ran hard to provide and create space for Lewandowski but never a danger himself.

Robert Lewandowski – 8 – Tormented the England defence, in particular John Stones, for the first-half. Just could never get a clean look at goal. Faded away in the second period and it felt illustrative that moments before Kane belted England into the lead, Lewandowski tried a similar shot and it rolled safely into Pickford’s arms. But you can’t keep a world-class stud like Poland’s no. 9 down for too long, and although England stopped him from scoring for the first time this season he still marked the game with a gorgeous left-footed assist for the equaliser.

Substitutes:

Karol Swiderski (for Buksa 63′) – 7 – Almost forced a hilarious error from Jordan Pickford. Applied good pressure.

Damian Szymanski (for Krychowiak 68′) – 7 – Came on to help hold the fort and to his credit, he did that well by adding energy to the middle of the park. And then stole the headlines with a superb headed equaliser in stoppage time.

Michal Helik (for Glik 80′) – n/a – Came on late.

Przemyslaw Frankowski (for Jozwiak 80′) – n/a – Came on late,

Maciej Rybus (for Puchaz 80′) – n/a – Came on late.


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England

Jordan Pickford – 6 – Played reasonably well, apart from the moment when he almost cost England a goal. But surely one error is standard operating procedure for Pickford?

Kyle Walker – 4 – A defensive right-back who can’t defend is such a ridiculous prospect it’s not a surprise Walker routinely looks like a lost 100m sprinter whenever he doesn’t have Pep Guardiola’s ridiculous tactical blueprint to follow. Targeted all night by Poland who knew he was the weak link and it was him who got doused by Moder eventually leading to the equaliser.

P;aying Walker ahead of Trent Alexander-Arnold or Reece James is silly. They will defend about as well as him (which is to say not well at all) but offer so much more in attack. Or if Garteh Southgate is determined to play a defender on the right then use the best 1-v-1 defender in Europe with Aaron Wan-Bissaka. England have an embarrassment of riches at right back there’s no excuse to make such a poor selection.

John Stones – 6 – Awful in the first-half where he was getting tormented by Robert Lewandowski and Poland. Recovered well in the second-half to do better in terms of shutting the Poles down.

Harry Maguire – 8 – England’s best defender and the only one who looked capable of handling the Polish pressure in the first-half.

Luke Shaw – 5 – Was playing really well for much of the game, but got caught on his heels for Poland’s equaliser where he had no idea that Szymanski was making a late run.

Declan Rice – 8 – Fought like a lion in the heart of midfield yet again. Is really maturing into a top-class holding midfielder.

Kalvin Phillips – 6 – Battled well but didn’t close Lewandowski quick enough for the equaliser.

Raheem Sterling – 7 – Dribbled really well but did not use the ball intelligently at all.

Mason Mount – 6 – Not his best night and his shoddy clearance led to the equaliser, but still linked the play superbly well. His partnership with Jack Grealish is becoming central to the way England play the game.

Jack Grealish – 8 – England’s brightest spark in attack, always tried to make things happen only to have his wings clipped by a staggering lack of movement from his team-mates. Grealish is a genius and if England can pair him with a forward that moves smartly (Mason Greenwood? Marcus Rashford? Jamie Vardy???) then things could get delightful for the Three Lions.

Harry Kane – 7 – Really poor for most of the game. Sluggish movement both on and off the ball, constantly picked the wrong passing options and killed countless attacks. But then he went and smashed England into the lead with a 35 yard thunderbolt. So, y’know, what can you say? Hats off to Harry Kane. Hell of a strike!

Substitutes:

N/A