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Asamoah Gyan Caps Brilliant Night For Sunderland With Goal

Sulley Muntari was very impressive in a more advance role against England, giving Steve Bruce food for thought.
Sulley Muntari was very impressive in a more advance role against England, giving Steve Bruce food for thought.

England got one over on Ghana at Wembley tonight, but for us here at Roker Report it was all about individual performances. And we certainly got some good one's as all three of our Ghanaians got significant playing time, putting in some sharp performances, as well as continuing the trend of SAFC players scoring this week.

Oh yeah, and Danny Welbeck made his international debut coming on in the last ten minutes for England. Remember when we said he's be an England player by the end of the season? Eh? Eh?

Alright, nobody remembers it, but here's our view on how the fantastic four did, as well as a few things for Brucey to pick over prior to the Manchester City game this weekend coming...

Asamoah Gyan, Sulley Muntari & John Mensah all started the game for Ghana against England tonight, and for the most part all three impressed.

Gyan lead the line on his own up front supported by Dominic Adiyiah, Kojo Asamoah notably a wide left of midfield Sulley Muntari. Very different to the holding role he's asked to perform in a Sunderland shirt, and Sulley gave a much better performance than he has in recent weeks in a red and white shirt.

It was Muntari who linked up well with Adiyiah for the first meaning full Ghanaian strike on goal, as he slipped a beautiful through ball to the Partizan Belgrade striker, who couldn't finish when one-on-one with Joe Hart.

Muntari's was at the centre of all Ghana's good play in the first half. The midfielder sent a freekick high and wide over the bar, but from a similar position he nearly assisted an opening goal for Ghana, had 'keeper Hart not saved smartly at the back post from the previously mentioned Adiyiah.

Asamoah Gyan wasn't to be outdone in an action packed opening half. He managed to sting the palms of Hart from well over 40 yards, and good on the lad for having such confidence.

John Mensah at the back was forming a useful partnership with the imposing Isaac Vorsah, but neither could prevent Liverpool's Andy Carroll from opening the scoring. Mensah was having a decent enough half too, sweeping up play while Vorsah was the defensive battering ram. So much so you wondered if he could forge a similar partnership with Michael Turner in our own defence. Sure Turner is nowhere near the man mountain Vorsah is, but he's lanky enough to win things in the air, and put himself in where others wouldn't.

Could Mensah and Turner be the new Craddock & Williams? I don't think we'll ever find out, but the proposition is an intriguing one.

The other most intriguing thing was the formation and tactics employed by Ghana. Very similar to our own in a 4-5-1, but with one crucial element we don't seem to be willing to do - Midfielders running beyond Gyan. This caused plenty of problems for England on the night, and we should be looking at Kieran Richardson, Stephane Sessegnon and either Jordan Henderson or Ahmed Elmohamady to do so.

The second half opened with Ghana looking not too dispirited. Sulley Muntari kicked off proceedings with a crunching tackle on Aston Villa's Stewart Downing, and when on another day a yellow card could have been produced, and the Teesider was ok to carry on.

Muntari who was at the heart of all action, and thoroughly impressive on the night was withdrawn on the hour for Andre Ayew. Sulley was certainly up there for my Ghanaian man of the match, pinging good passes all over the place, leaving Steve Bruce with something to consider as in the more advanced role, Sulley looked the part.

Asamoah Gyan continued to be highly impressive as the game went on, looking sharp, full of running and enjoying himself more than in recent weeks for us. However, the striker should really have done better in teh 67th minute when clean through on goal. Tight angle, but should have placed it instead of lashing well wide from all of 8 yards.

Hearts in mouths as the game came to a close when Manchester City's James Milner hacked down Gyan, who was clearly angered by the foul, but luckily Asamoah dusted himself down to fire over the bar a very poor free-kick.

However, you know you can never count out our boy Asamoah. In the 90th minute he popped up to equalise for Ghana, capping a truly superb game from Baby Jet. Wriggling away from three England defenders to clip the ball perfectly beyond Joe Hart. More of that on Sunday please Mr Gyan!

John Mensah also performed admirably in the second half after a shaky first. Shaky for the entire Ghanian defence mind. The Rock managed to get in the way of most shots, crosses and any thing else England could throw at the Black Stars.

With 10 minutes to go, a grand night for SAFC was completed with Danny Welbeck making his England debut in place of Ashley Young. Obviously still a Manchester United player, but the fact he earned his England recognition whilst at Sunderland is great for the club. It was just quite unfortunate that he never really got a kick in his short cameo.

Over all though, we can be thankful that everyone came away (relatively) unscathed, and with the performance Ghana put in, all three of our lads should head off to Eastlands next week full of confidence.

Steve Bruce will have a few things to think about heading into that game. However if you're reading Steve, and who knows maybe you are, Sulley Muntari in an attacking midfield role, and tell Hendo & Co to start getting beyond Gyan.