Wilshere and Parker shine for England

CARDIFF - Frank Lampard and Darren Bent gave England an easy 2-0 win over Wales in their Euro 2012 qualifer, but midfielders Scott Parker and Jack Wilshere got most of the plaudits after Saturday's one-sided victory.

The 19-year Wilshere and Parker, 30, may be at opposite ends of their careers in terms of their ages but they gave the England midfield a fresh and balanced approach, winning only their third and fifth caps respectively.

England were far too good for the home side, ranked 116th in the world by FIFA, who improved in the second period following a woeful opening half but never looked like saving the game after Lampard's seventh minute penalty and Bent's 15th minute strike.

Wales had suffered a big blow with the absence of their best player Gareth Bale, who has a hamstring injury, but even his presence would have been unlikely to change the outcome.

England coach Fabio Capello, as staunch an advocate as anyone in world football of 4-4-2, changed his formation to 4-3-3 with Wilshere, Parker and Lampard playing in midfield and Wayne Rooney, Darren Bent and Ashley Young in attack.

It worked perfectly albeit against inferior opponents.

Capello stressed to reporters after the game that he used that system after studying the way Wales played in their first match under their new coach Gary Speed.

Whether he keeps it for Tuesday's friendly against Ghana, when he will make 11 changes to his line-up, is doubtful.

"I decided on the formation after watching games that Wales played. It is really good because players like Ashley Young are improving a lot. I'm happy with the spirit, we worked together to win back the ball, each player helping the others," he said.


Wilshere and Parker gave a glimpse of a future freed of the seemingly age-old debate about whether Steven Gerrard and Lampard can play together in midfield or whether Gareth Barry is really the answer to the perennial left-sided problem.

Gerrard, out with injury, clearly still has an England future, as does Lampard, but Barry, 30, was not even on the bench on Saturday and after some fairly anodyne performances for his country, he is unlikely to add to his 45 caps.

Parker, almost single-handedly leading West Ham United's fight against relegation from the Premier League this season, had an outstanding game as the holding midfielder.

He made the most passes on the pitch - 60 excluding crosses, completing 53 of them for an 88 percent success rate.

Wilshere, as he has done several times for Arsenal this season, gave a polished performance that belied his age and experience and clearly impressed Capello.

Before Saturday, he had only played 53 minutes for England in his two previous appearances but more are likely to come very quickly.


"Wilshere's performance during this season has been incredible. The performance of this player has improved so much in such a short time. He played like a player of 28 or 29 with 35 or 40 caps. I hope he will keep on improving, good players always improve," Capello told reporters.