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England v Holland 13/02/02


BBC Sport's Alan Hansen believes England have plenty to smile about after their draw against Holland in Amsterdam.

England's performance offered plenty of plusses and minuses for Sven-Goran Eriksson.
England had the better of the chances, though not the better of the play.

They were great going forward and, with Owen involved as well, will look very dangerous.
But defensively there is still cause for concern. Two of the three debutants did really well and these were ideal conditions in which to assess the new boys.. You don't want to make it easy for them. You want it to be hard and playing away against a side of Holland's quality was ideal.

Darius Vassell and Wayne Bridge did very well, though Michael Ricketts probably got caught out a bit.
Vassell started quite nervously but came on well. He had pace, looked lively and had a great hit for the goal. It was an eight or nine out of 10 and Sven will be forced to play him again.

Vassell was a tad nervous early on and you thought that he might not recover. But, boy, did he recover.

Wayne Bridge looked very comfortable. He started well and showed real composure. He got a great cross in early on and that settled him into a very competent 45 minutes. At the highest level, you have to be comfortable in possession and he clearly is. He is definitely worthy of another go.

With Ricketts, expectations were high because he has done special things in the Premiership.
His priority was to hold the ball, but he gave it away time and time again. I believe Ricketts could be extra special, but the World Cup has come a bit too early for him.

Our midfield trio of Beckham, Gerrard and Scholes was excellent. The only problem is that you don't have a natural holding player among them. They all want to go forward and that can leave you weak at the back. I'm not so sure the sytem worked and, if one player dominated, it was Patrick Kluivert.

But the object was to look at the new players and Vassell really caught the eye.