Lots of best things happened in the England win over Russia.
The best thing that could have happened to the English squad is Frank Lampard's absence due injury which has opened up the midfield and given the English creative control, especially in the game against Russia.
Don't get me wrong, Lamps is a good club player and Chelsea missed him against Aston Villa but keeping him in a crowded English midfield together with Gareth Barry and Gerrard introduces a multiplicity of roles that overlap and muddy the waters.
The most notable part of this midfield is that it is service oriented and by and large selfless. It is also extremely mobile with SWP and Joe Cole opening up the game on both flanks. Gareth Barry was efficient and organized with his passing. I think SWP is really gaining in confidence and he deserves the nod over Beckham should he come back from injury.
The form of Barry is proving to be a welcome headache for Steve McLaren who surely now has to deal with a situation where he will have Hargreaves, Lampard, and even Michael Carrick to choose from. Each one has their strengths but Lampard has never been mistaken for a holding midfielder, a role which has been traditionally overlooked in the English game, but seems of late, to be generating a number of players in that specialist role. Barry is also excellent at set pieces and experience at Villa as makeshift left back gives him an edge over Hargreaves and Carrick in initiating counter attacks.
There should be no question about Micah Richards hold on right back. Gary Neville has done yeoman duty for England but it is time for McLaren to cement Richards position in the squad.
Emile Heskey has done more than was asked of him. He was brought back for no real reason other than nostalgia as Michael Owen's lucky talisman. But he was a physical presence as he won the ball from the slow reacting Russian defence time and time again. Michael Owen's finishing of the ball in the slot has been clinically impeccable.
With Wayne Rooney's accelerated return, McLaren will have another potent weapon should Heskey show a familiar loss of motivation. But at this stage I really don't see how you can go away from a squad that has given England two emphatic wins.