Gerrard praise for ‘perfect’ display

ENGLAND captain Steven Gerrard was in bullish mood after seeing his side “tear apart” Switzerland in last night’s Euro 2012 qualifier in Basle.

The Three Lions followed up Friday’s eye-catching 4-0 victory over Bulgaria with an equally composed 3-1 win against the Swiss.

Wayne Rooney netted his first England goal for a year after 10 minutes, and after Switzerland had Stephan Lichtsteiner sent off Adam Johnson made it 2-0.

Xherdan Shaqiri reduced the arrears before Darren Bent wrapped up the points two minutes from time, and Gerrard felt England were good value for the margin of their victory.

“I think the first-half performance was perfect,” Gerrard said. “Everything the manager asked of us, we got the gameplan spot on.

“I think we got a little bit lazy in the second half, they came into the game, but it was never in doubt.

“People were talking about how good Switzerland are defensively, but we just tore them apart.”

Reflecting on Rooney’s goal, which came after several days of negative headlines about his private life, Gerrard said: “I think that’s great for Wayne.

“Obviously all the talk in the build-up was about Wayne so it was nice for him to get the early goal and I’m sure that’s helped his performance.

“Tonight he was terrific, like he was on Friday, and I’m sure he’ll be great for us throughout the qualification.”

Fabio Capello was delighted with the display, which continued his side’s run of impressive performances following on the disappointment of their World Cup campaign.

“I think we played, in the first half, fantastic football,” Capello said.

“This game was very important to win, but we played really, really well. I was really happy after the first half.

“The second half we played too slow, and I think after the second goal and [the sending off] it was easier.”

On Rooney’s performance, Capello added: “I think he played well. He was always at the centre of the play, the centre of the movement. I think the pressure was really strong on him, but he played very well.”

The only sour note from an English perspective was an ankle injury picked up by Theo Walcott which forced the Arsenal winger off the pitch and necessitated a trip to hospital.

Capello hinted, however, that the injury was not as serious as it appeared.

SWITZERLAND: Benaglio, Lichtsteiner, Grichting, Von Bergen, Ziegler, Margairaz (Shaqiri 46), Inler, Schwegler (Costanzo 83), Degen (Streller 64), Derdiyok, Frei. ENGLAND: Hart, Glen Johnson, Jagielka, Lescott, Ashley Cole, Walcott (Adam Johnson 13), Gerrard, Barry, Milner, Defoe (Bent 70), Rooney (Wright-Phillips 79). Ref: Nicola Rizzoli (Italy).


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