England v Germany: From a City perspective

City had several players and alleged transfer targets in yesterday’s match. Here we take a look at how they fared.

Gareth Barry

Yes he’s disciplined, but Barry has neither the pace to get across the pitch nor the bite in the tackle to make a top defensive midfielder. This is hardly a revelation to anyone who watched him play for City last season, so quite why England were expecting him to shackle Ozil is a mystery. The fact he’d barely returned from injury was unlikely to speed him up.

Losing possession for the third goal was unfortunate. Leaving him back to mind Ozil for what proved to be the fourth was a disaster in waiting.

Barry can still do a job in the Premier League, but this performance should remove any doubts about the need to sign Yaya Toure.

Jerome Boateng

Showed a good range of passing while looking very comfortable on the ball and, Vincent Kompany aside, this will be a welcome addition to our defence. When it comes to actual defending Jerome’s not been great in his two matches so far.  Primarily, he’s resembled Micah Richards in failing to close down wingers and stop crosses. For Upson’s goal, Jerome was the defender at fault, failing to time his jump and challenge the England centre-back.

In mitigation, his previous appearance against English opposition at Fulham in the Europa League saw Jerome strong in the tackle and looking excellent defensively. In that game he was playing in central defence.

Seeing how he copes against Argentina should be interesting.

James Milner

Came of age last season playing in central midfield. Here we saw James on the wing and were reminded that his lack of pace prevents him being a £20m winger never mind a £30m one. On the plus side he’s still a better crosser than any of our current wingers.

Martin O’Neill is a motivator of organised teams, which is capable of making average players look good. Barry looked better under O’Neill than he has at City. There’s a big question as to whether Milner would continue his excellent Villa form if he’s moved around by Mancini and asked to play on the wing.

Mesut Ozil

Once again Ozil was the most dangerous midfielder on show. His burst of pace and sharp passing ought to enable him to survive in the Premier League despite his youth and lack of muscle.

The only reservation would be some German players perform better within the framework of their national side than they do for their clubs. Klose and Podolski are typical examples. With Ozil this would be a minor concern.

City appear to have made David Silva our number one target for the creative midfielder role. The advantage with Silva is that he is equally at home on the wings. Signing Silva is likely to leave little room in our squad for Ozil, unless Ireland was to leave.

If he ends up at Chelsea, Arsenal or United, we could be left to rue a missed opportunity.

Shaun Wright-Phillips

Managed to squeeze in his usual substitute’s cameo role and, mercifully for Shaun, it was brief!

Matthew Upson – our one time target

When Mark Hughes appeared to be considering signing Upson late last Autumn, it felt like a desperate attempt to salvage a shaky defence. Yesterday showed again why Upson isn’t a top quality defender.

The West Ham player has always lacked pace and been slow on the turn. At international level this is exposed more than in the Premier League.

Would any City fan take him over Nedum Onuoha? Nedum is better suited to international football than Upson, where his slight lack of height matters less and his clean tackling is more valuable.

If Nedum is still thinking of playing for Nigeria, then someone at the FA should have a word quickly. It’s not as though the first choice pairing of Terry and Ferdinand are getting any younger or fitter.

I felt before the tournament that Capello would have been better served with Nedum than either Carragher or Upson, and nothing since has made me alter that view.

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