Wayne Rooney, Rio Ferdinand and Wes Brown all played a big part in England’s 5-1 victory over Kazakhstan. Whilst the scoreline is not entirely reflective of the match, particularly when you consider the teams went in 0-0 at half time, our lads had a big part to play in the result.

After the match, Oliver Holt spoke about the importance of playing Wayne Rooney, their star man, in his proper position, and also reflected on the embarrassing behaviour of the England fans. In doing so, he reminded the viewing public of the torrid time United players used to get when representing their country, with the Wembley crowd singing songs about hating United. With David Beckham, the Nevilles, Nicky Butt and Paul Scholes all on the field, chorus’ of “if you hate Man United clap your hands” used to do their rounds.

Then, like now, it’s all about Manchester United for England, however it seems this country has wised-up a bit, starting to recognise the impressive contribution of our players.

The Times
Headline: 5-star Wayne Rooney
Ratings: Wes Brown 6 Solid, reliable, unspectacular Brown achieved pass marks. His defensive work was sound, especially tidying up when Upson was under pressure just before the interval, but for England to become a top-level nation the attacking of their full-backs has to improve. Rio Ferdinand 7 The programme ran a feature on England’s all-time top 20 scorers; Ferdinand will never be in that but he has a habit of coming up with goals at important times. Wayne Rooney 8 New haircut, old Rooney. The past two matches under Capello have suggested the Rooney of Euro 2004 and he was England’s best player. Wrongly credited with second goal by Wembley stadium announcer but no doubt about his finish for goals number three and four.

The Guardian
Headline: England Rely On Rooney To Silence Boos
Ratings: Wes Brown 6 Lovely delivery for Rooney’s first goal and was competent before the break. Might, though, have given a penalty away in the 62nd minute if the outstanding Tanat Nusserbayev had decided to fall. There are signs he can link with Walcott – will Micah Richards be able to force his way back? Rio Ferdinand 7 Enjoyed his goal, especially as it was a free header after keeper Mokin had a flap. The stand-in skipper was part of early mix-up with Upson and James but enjoyed view early on of Walcott and company doing their stuff. If Terry is still missing in Belarus he will revel in leading team again. Wayne Rooney 8 Began brightly, faded a little, then finished superbly to be England’s best man with two goals plus the niggle that produced Kazakh own goal. Looping early shot brought ‘Roo-oo-ney’ cries and was involved throughout the first half and during that spell he produced a most sublime moment when a mid-air flick set him free.

The Independent
Headline: England hit stride as Rooney sparks grandstand finish
Ratings: Wes Brown 7 Preferred again to Glen Johnson at right-back and defensively acquitted himself well. Was as committed to attack as the strength of the opposition demanded. In the first half he supported Walcott, but seemed to do so less often as the minutes passed until, with the opposition tiring, he crossed for England’s third. Rio Ferdinand 8 The England captain, dominant in the centre of defence and influential as a springboard for attacks, distributed the ball as well as ever. A calming presence throughout, and as a danger at England corners proved his potency with a firm header at the far post to give England the lead, albeit assisted by the Kazakh-stan goalkeeper’s error. Wayne Rooney 7 Though not at his explosive best, the striker still had too much powder for the Kazakh-stan defence. Drew an own goal from the defence, nodded in a Wes Brown cross then added England’s fourth.

The Mirror
Headline: Wayne Rooney To The Rescue
Ratings: Wes Brown 6 Was not tested as a full back and was more than willing to supplement his attack when the occasion demanded. A comfortable enough evening. Rio Ferdinand 8 What the strand-in captain had to do he did well enough. He knew this was a potential banana skin and did his bit with the vital opening goal. Wayne Rooney 7 Signs of frustration early on when the massed ranks of the Kazak defence denied him space and room, but as the game opened up, so Rooney flourished. Deserved his goals.

The Sun
Headline: Rooney Leads The Way