England vs. Poland: Players Who Must Improve for Britain After Frustrating Draw

Ian Hanford@Ian_HanfordFeatured ColumnistOctober 18, 2012

England settled for a 1-1 draw versus Poland Tuesday night, but it was far from the side's best game.

Several players didn't put their best foot forward. In all thirds of the field, England lacked creativity and struggled to keep possession.

All in all, it was a sloppy match. Both sides seemed unsure of themselves, but England carries larger expectations on their back.

Let's look at three players who must step up following Tuesday's disappointing performance.

Joleon Lescott

England's centre-back looked nervous against Poland. He struggled with the ball at his feet, and the goal allowed by Joe Hart could be, at least, partially placed on his shoulders. He played too passively in the box, which was the main reason Kamil Glik was able to score his header.

Fans of the British side should be tense every time Lescott touches the ball. He doesn't showcase confidence, which always makes it seem like a catastrophe is seconds away.

He's a skilled player, but England needs their centre-back to play more reassuringly on the defensive side.

Without that, the side is extremely vulnerable down the middle.

Tom Cleverley

Cleverley is one of England's rising stars, but he looked out of place Tuesday night.

While bouncing between three positions can't be easy, he was still disappointing. His passes were shaky, and he didn't seem to have any clear direction as to what he was doing out there.

England needs Cleverley to create for himself, whether it be playing inside or outside. The squad lacks a definitive playmaker, making their offense one-dimensional at times.

Possessing the ball is important, and Cleverley gave away too many easy passes. On top of that, his positioning versus the counterattack was a little off at times.

He definitely has the potential to bounce back, but Tuesday night's performance was disheartening.

Wayne Rooney

Of all the players on the pitch, Rooney is expected to do big things for England. He did score his team's lone goal, but he wasn't good otherwise.

Scoring is never a bad thing. However, it shouldn't come at the expense of everything else.

Rooney was England's worst passer on Tuesday. He was pressing everything, forcing himself to make a number of bad decisions from the top of England's attack.

For an international veteran, this is inexcusable. Wasting possession consistently kills an offense's flow, and we saw that happen against Poland here.

If England wants to find success, Rooney must be on top of his game.


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