By Dave Downie

Jordan Pickford 7: What we’ve needed for years. A goalkeeper with confidence in his own ability and decision making. Cleaned house when coming for a cross and a fantastic save to deny Shaqiri at the death. Impeccable with the little he had to do whilst also being the best passer in the squad. I’m joking. But not really.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin 7: Looked much more comfortable in a central striking role, but ironically when he was played out of position he provided a wonderful cross for Rooney’s goal. Will be important this season.

Michael Keane 7: Imperious in the air when Stoke began their battering ram tactics. Negated any effort by Crouch when he came on and was head and shoulders above any of our defenders.

Phil Jagielka 6: Defending wasn’t an issue in as much as his passing and reckless punting was. Some strange long-ball efforts rarely reached their target, but solid enough where it mattered.

Ashley Williams 5: A typical thought used to be he was much better in a defensive three – not on today’s performance. Subbed at half-time and looks distinctly unfit. You can see why Koeman has identified a central defender as one of his remaining key targets.

Leighton Baines 6: Ability to influence games in an attacking capacity is starting elude the left-back: a shame when you think he’d be tailor-made for a wing-back role for Ronald Koeman a couple of years ago. Defensively he was rarely beaten and that’s what’ll matter more in the twilight of his career.

Morgan Schneiderlin 5: Still doesn’t look his usual self and struggled to get involved in the game for large parts. The initial shape might well have hindered his routine of collecting the ball from deep and influencing the attack.

Idrissa Gueye 8: Dominating midfield performance from one of the stars of last season. Picked up where he left off and was outstanding in the second half. His energy has no limits.

Davy Klaassen 4: Very much a “welcome to the Premier League” game for the Dutchman, whose shirking of a couple of challenges did him no good from where I was sitting. Struggled to influence the game and was taken off on 60. Will have much better days and will learn from this.

Sandro Ramirez 6: Infectious enthusiasm and terrific movement off the ball just wasn’t complimented enough by his teammates in the first half. The signs are all there that he could be lethal with the right support. Some nifty footwork in the the build-up for the goal too.

Wayne Rooney 8: Probably couldn’t have dreamt of a better Premier League homecoming. Desperate to affect the game and popped up in all sorts of places throughout. Slightly deeper and nearer the right in the second half, he dictated the game. His header was perfect, the moment was perfect and so it starts all over again.

SUBSTITUTES:

Cuco Martina 6: Much improved from his debut two weeks ago, also provided a couple of dangerous crosses.

Kevin Mirallas 5: Eagerness and running helped to control the game for the few minutes he got.

Tom Davies 6: Much more effective than the man he replaced in Klaassen. Persistently pressed Stoke and tried to drive forward at every opportunity.

1 COMMENT

  1. Agree with all those marks. Gana and Roooney the outstanding 2 players. Klassen certainly looks like he will need time to ajust to the prem league.

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