By James Cox
England beat Mexico 3-1 in their last game at Wembley before the World Cup to give Fabio Capello a lot to think about before his final squad is announced on June 1st.
Ledley King opened the scoring, guiding a header in to the far corner after Peter Crouch had headed back Steven Gerrard’s deep corner. Crouch then made it two following up from a yard out after Wayne Rooney’s header was tipped on to the bar by Mexico goalkeeper Oscar Perez.
Photo from fOTOGLIF
West Ham striker Guillermo Franco pulled a goal back just before half-time after England were caught flat-footed from a corner, but two minutes after the break Glen Johnson restored the two goal lead with a stunning left-footed effort from just outside the area.
With the injured Gareth Barry a doubt for the World Cup, Capello is thought to be searching for his centre-midfield replacement. James Milner failed to impress in centre-midfield and he eventually swapped with Gerrard to move to the left wing, another possibility for this role, Scott Parker was an unused sub in this game but he will surely get his chance against Japan on Sunday.
Barry is still expected to be in the 23-man squad for the World Cup however, as injured players chosen can be replaced any time up to 24 hours before their country’s first game.
Leighton Baines played the whole game, as did Ledley King, who was playing his first game for England since 2007, he struggled early on before growing in assurance after his goal. Jamie Carragher ended his international exile by replacing his centre-back partner Rio Ferdinand at half-time.
Joe Hart replaced Robert Green at the interval also, with both goalkeepers putting in good performances, Jermain Defoe came on for Peter Crouch and looked lively.
Tom Huddlestone replaced Michel Carrick around the hour mark but failed to really take his chance in the middle with Gerrard.
Wembley was also treated to late cameos from debutant Adam Johnson and Aaron Lennon who both terrorised the Mexican defence with runs down the flanks.
John Terry, Michael Dawson, and Shaun Wright-Phillips did not feature but should start against Japan, as should Stephen Warnock as he and Baines battle it out to be Ashley Cole’s understudy.
Emile Heskey will hope to play against Japan also, though Capello has always backed the Villa front-man and despite scoring only three goals in the Premier League this season, he is all but a certainty to be on the plane to South Africa.