Home nations team of the weekend
Frank Monkhouse | 28 March 2017
Those who stood out in the qualifiers
The race for Premier League points was put on ice at the weekend as football fans turned their attentions to the latest from the World Cup qualifiers.
Wales got an uninspiring draw with Ireland, Scotland grabbed a dramatic last-gasp win on Sunday, England strolled past Lithuania, and Northern Ireland battled to victory over Norway. We give our best 11 from the home nations, setting up in a 4-3-3 format…..
Goalkeeper: Michael McGovern (Northern Ireland)
The well-respected keeper didn’t have the busiest of matches against Norway, but he played his part in a great win and was a calming influence at the back. I am surprised he’s not at a bigger club as he’s a standout.
Defender: John Stones (England)
Did what was expected of him against the minnows of Lithuania, but England had a couple of nervy moments. Stones carried his impressive recent club form into this one. Was in the right place at the right time to deny a goal.
Defender: Kieran Tierney (Scotland)
One of a number of Celtic players thrown into Sunday’s massive win at Hampden, and he really did impress, as was expected. Tierney has overcome injury to be a regular in a good Celtic side and looks to have a bright future ahead on him. Moved the ball intelligently and got forward at every opportunity.
Defender: Chris Gunter (Wales)
Wales were pretty dull in what was probably a must-win vs Ireland. They ended 0-0, a draw that suits their opponents more, but Gunter was solid when called upon, doing his bit in a no-nonsense rear-guard at the Aviva. Big game player.
Defender: Gareth McAuley (Northern Ireland)
Part of a massive win for Northern Ireland over Norway. The hosts scored early, but relied on their defence to keep Norway at arm’s length. The beaten team had the majority of the game’s possession, but were restricted to just four shots on target. McAuley’s experience paid off.
Midfielder: Robert Snodgrass (Scotland)
Didn’t get the whole game, but was the best player on the park when subbed. His ability at set-pieces meant Scotland were always dangerous and he is an invaluable player for them, making great use of the ball. Was unlucky not to get an assist.
Midfielder: Scott Brown (Scotland)
The Celtic man blows hot-and-cold at times, but was roasting on Sunday. Arguably one of his best performances in blue, and when it mattered too. His reaction at the end of the game showed just how much winning for Scotland means to Brown.
Midfielder: Steven Davis (Northern Ireland)
A great performance from a reliable player. He has bags of big-game experience, and showed it, pulling the strings in midfielder to set up Conor Washington for Northern Ireland’s second. The captain was man of the match for me.
Forward: Jermain Defoe (England)
Southgate raised a few eyebrows when bringing Defoe back into the England team, but I don’t know why. He scores goals and did so again at Wembley, getting England’s first in a 2-0 win over Lithuania. Still has plenty to offer.
Forward: Jamie Vardy (England)
I think it’s safe to say Jamie Vardy is back. As well as scoring important goals in the Champions League and Premier League, he hit the target for England too, putting the game to bed and settling any nerves among home fans.
Forward: Jamie Ward (Northern Ireland)
Scored after just two-minutes against Norway to get his side off to a flyer. If you’re going to get a goal that’ll set the pace for an important win, that’s how to do it. Put his side on-course for a massive three points.