Winning roles for Toon stars

Last updated : 30 March 2003 By Martyn Elliott

As widely predicted Kieron Dyer started for England on the left in the appalling 2-0 win in Liechtenstein, and completed the full 90 minutes.

Despite looking out of position at times Dyer managed to create four good chances for England and as such was one of the few players to rise above the mediocrity.

But Jonathan Woodgate was an unused substitute (a role he is likely to lose if Sol Campbell is available to face Turkey) and Sven obviously decided that JJ isn’t as good as either Nicky Butt or Danny Murphy as he didn’t even make the subs bench.

Murphy incidentally came on as a second-half sub and seemed determined to win the Geoff Thomas award for worst performance in an England shirt.

Mixed news from Cardiff where Wales cruised to a 4-0 victory over Azerbaijan and Craig Bellamy was amazingly credited with the first goal despite not touching the ball.

Gary Speed was also on the scoresheet, but had to leave the field with a recurrence of a groin injury and has since described himself as doubtful for the game against Everton.

Republic of Ireland earned a 2-1 victory in Georgia to get their Euro 2004 qualification bid back on track.

Shay Given played the full 90 minutes but made a bit of a howler for the Georgians’ goal while Andy O’Brien was an unused substitute.

The game was most notable for a supporter throwing a penknife at Mackem Kevin Kilbane – however reports that Howard Wilkinson was in the crowd are still unconfirmed.

Aaron Hughes ended up on the losing side yet again as Northern Ireland’s qualification campaign ended with a 1-0 defeat in Armenia.