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Page last updated at 19:17 GMT, Saturday, 8 September 2007 20:17 UK

BBC pundits on England

The BBC's team of expert analysts from Match of the Day and Radio 5live give their verdicts on England's 3-0 victory over Israel.

Alan Hansen
By Alan Hansen
Match of the Day pundit

It was emphatic, it was comprehensive and in the end it was easy but the players still had to do their job.

There are bigger and harder tests to come but it was a great base and a starting point.

The selection was good, the tactics were good, the performance was good and the goals were great - especially the second goal by Michael Owen, which was phenomenal. It breeds confidence ahead of the game against Russia on Wednesday night.

It also gives the players belief in manager Steve McClaren because he has made some big decisions.

Micah Richards could keep Gary Neville out of the team now - and hold his place for the next 10 years. That is a positive for England's future

Graham Taylor

McClaren is a beleaguered manager under extreme pressure and in desperate times sometimes you have to resort to desperate measures.

I would not have picked Emile Heskey but he was man of the match. I thought he was absolutely terrific.

I would not have played him and that is why you give the manager the accolades because he has spotted the weaknesses in the Israeli defence and brought him in - and Heskey has exploited it.

The game against Russia is going to be tasty. Obviously, it is going to be a harder one than this one.

The manager has got some big decisions right but he has to get them right again next time.

But the great thing about this performance is that the atmosphere in the build-up will be lighter and on the training ground the players can relax and be better for it.

Alan Shearer
By Alan Shearer
Former England captain and Match of the Day pundit

You couldn't ask any more.

The players have been sent out to do a job and I don't think you could have anything poor to say about any of them. You have got to say well done to them.

They were under pressure but I thought they played very well.

They got off to a good start and you could see they were full of confidence at the start of the second half and it was a matter of how many they were going to get.

We knew that whatever had happened in friendlies a month or two ago didn't matter - all that matters is the results here and on Wednesday.

They have set themselves up really nicely for Wednesday's game and they go into it full of confidence.

Ian Wright
By Ian Wright
Former England international & BBC Radio 5live pundit

It is majorly important to get a win like this, especially with our position looking as precarious as it did in the group.

Of course, on paper it looks as though we should be beating these teams as easily as we did in this match but you still have to go and do it with the pressure the boys have been under.

I thought we did it really well. We played a good game with a big man up front and with people running off him. Emile Heskey played his game well, holding it up, and it worked perfectly.

Graham Taylor
By Graham Taylor
Former England manager & BBC Radio 5live pundit

Given the importance of the game, I think England handled it well.

They came out and recognised that they were going to play against a very defensive team - and that is not easy to do. Sometimes you have to wear these teams down.

England got their goals and moved the ball about - although they possibly could have moved it about a bit quicker. But overall I think it was a good, comprehensive win and a solid performance.

I think Micah Richards could keep Gary Neville out of the team now - and hold his place for the next 10 years. That is a positive for England's future.

Chris Waddle
By Chris Waddle
Former England international & BBC Radio 5live pundit

It was a very professional performance.

The players who came in did an excellent job. Gareth Barry was the pick of the players for me. Shaun Wright-Phillips was also impressive and Emile Heskey was excellent up front.

I would pick the same team again on Wednesday - their confidence will be high.

Israel were very disappointing but full credit to England. And well done to Steve McClaren, who has got the result he wanted.



see also
England 3-0 Israel
08 Sep 07 |  Internationals
McClaren targets win over Russia
08 Sep 07 |  Internationals
England Player Rater
28 Mar 07 |  Internationals
International football photos
08 Sep 07 |  Football
Euro 2008 tables
22 Aug 07 |  Internationals
Live - Euro 2008 qualifying
08 Sep 07 |  Internationals
Pick your England XI
31 Aug 07 |  Internationals


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