Disclaimer: the following ratings all come with the obvious caveat that England were playing officially one of the three worst teams in international football and should be judged as such.
GK: Joe Hart – 6
The most uneventful of his 25 caps saw Hart touch the ball a total of just 12 times and make precisely zero saves as a San Marino side pathologically opposed to coming out of their own half only had one wayward effort in 90 minutes. Only the ironic cheers of the crowd every time he took a touch prevented him from lapsing into a comatose state.
RB: Kyle Walker – 4
Playing in place of the suspended Glen Johnson, Walker was rather subdued as England’s massed attackers controlled the ball in the final third and was guilty of a couple of sloppy passes in the first half. His performance failed to improve after the break, indeed it deteriorated, and he was noticeably England’s worst performer on the easiest of nights for the national side.
CB: Phil Jagielka – 6
Having started in the previous qualifier against Ukraine, and with John Terry in international exile, Jagielka ostensibly had a chance to cement his place in the back four. But given San Marino were as penetrative as a pillow, he had little chance to showcase his qualities. Did nothing wrong, but basically did nothing.
CB: Gary Cahill – 5
With three goals in only nine caps, the Chelsea man poses an attacking threat from centre-back and he went close with one fine piece of chest control followed by a low shot just before the half-hour mark. Another volleyed chance went begging after the break as, completely understandably, he paid ever more attention to attacking, but Cahill was exposed for San Marino’s only chance.
LB: Leighton Baines – 6
Where Walker was hesitant, the man tasked with deputising for Ashley Cole was essentially an auxiliary winger, often positioned beyond even Oxlade-Chamberlain. His crossing posed a threat all night and he linked up well with his partner on the left flank, showing the endeavour we have come to expect from arguably the finest English player outside of the Premier League’s absolute elite.
CM: Michael Carrick – 6
A stunning drive from 25 yards that thundered against the bar after 33 minutes was an atypical contribution from a player who has so often played an understated role for England, and for the majority he did what he often does for United: distribute the ball effectively to Rooney and Cleverley ahead of him. An average night, but Carrick was never really under any pressure before being removed for Shelvey. He could have done more to help break down San Marino in a first half that had a frustrating flavour to it.
CM: Tom Cleverley – 7
Nominally playing in a deeper role than the position he adopted against Moldova and Ukraine, Cleverley looked at home alongside his two United colleagues in the central area and was always looking to partake in quick passing combinations. He sauntered forward time and again, unshackled from any responsibility for defending, and assisted Welbeck for his second goal as well as teeing up Oxlade-Chamberlain for the fifth. Though at times he lost his way when presented with a sea of blue on the edge of the box, Cleverley helped pry the hesitant visitors apart eventually.
RM: Theo Walcott – 6
The winger’s first start under Roy Hodgson lasted just five minutes before he was flattened by a brutal and reckless challenge from San Marino goalkeeper Aldo Junior Simoncini. Dazed and frustrated, he departed on a stretcher.
AM: Wayne Rooney – 8
Captaining his country for the first time in a competitive international, Rooney was in wonderful form behind the striker as he played the ball about with almost contemptuous ease. His one-touch play with Oxlade-Chamberlain was a delight and he could have scored a couple more in the first half, either side of his penalty. Though he wilted with England at the start of the second half, his fine second established him as the fifth highest scorer in England’s history with 31 goals, surpassing Tom Finney, Nat Lofthouse and Alan Shearer. A good night’s work.
LM: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – 7
A favourite of Hodgson, the Arsenal winger justified his inclusion with a performance of character and invention. He found the weak opposition only too obliging when cutting in from the left or driving down the wing and was clever in his use of the ball. A vicious effort after only three minutes almost put England ahead but, though he faded a touch, his first goal for his country was expertly taken after 77 minutes as he caressed a first-time finish into the top corner.
ST: Danny Welbeck – 7
Another deeply promising performance from the United striker. His mobility and movement was too much for San Marino’s part-timers and his goal after 37 minutes was delicious, a flick through the legs that was only just short of matching his work of art against Sweden in Kiev. Welbeck won the penalty, hit the post and then claimed a second after 71 minutes as he made a strong claim for the lone striker’s role when England visit Poland on Tuesday night.
Aaron Lennon (on 10) – 5
England’s left side was far more dynamic than their right, and Lennon, in conjunction with Walker, played a part in that as he lacked the impetus to rip San Marino apart. He made some clever runs but could have made more of the opportunity after such an early introduction.
Jonjo Shelvey (on 66) – 6
Had little trouble settling into the side after replacing Carrick and played with authority in the centre of the park. Did nothing to suggest that he will not be a good option for England in the future.
Andy Carroll (on 73) – 5
Threatened with one header after clambering over his marker but with England failing to supply him with the necessary service, he struggled to make the impression he would have hoped for against an awful San Marino side.
SAN MARINO: A Simoncini 5, Vitaioli 5, Palazzi 6, Brolli 5, D Simoncini 5, Della Valle 4, Cibelli 5, Coppini 4, Cervellini 5, Danilo 5, Gasperoni 5. SUBS: Buscarini 5, Selva 5, Bacciocchi 5.
- San Marino