That was much better from England, swatting a Scotland team full of confidence aside with Jude Bellingham, Phil Foden and Marcus Rashford to the fore in a front-foot 3-1 victory.
Read our Scotland ratings, if you fancy a laugh at their expense…
Had absolutely nothing to do, not a single shot on target to save, before picking the ball out of his net after Harry Maguire’s latest step towards becoming a full-time meme, the poor sod.
Has the taste for goals now, and flashed one across the net and past the far post when the old Kyle Walker would probably have crossed it back into the middle and, in fairness, the new one probably should have as well. Next time he tried to shoot when he should have crossed, it teed up Foden to score. So who knows. As ever with Walker, there were a couple of heavy touches and positional lapses. As ever with Walker, his pace generally got him out of dodge. Quick – in every sense – to try and exploit any space in behind whenever Andy Robertson bombed on. Nearly quit international football after the World Cup. Nearly quit Manchester City in the summer. But probably playing the best football of his career right now.
A kitten dies every time Gareth Southgate insists on picking one of his four million right-backs at left-back, but Trippier did fine. He’s used to it by now, to be fair.
Excellent. Important header to stop Ryan Porteous getting on the end of a free-kick clipped dangerously into the penalty area and gave off a general air of calm, reliable authority that belied his inexperience at international level. Our issue with Dunk, and we can’t quite put our finger on why, is that whenever we see him we see a bowling all-rounder who takes 50 wickets every year in the County Championship without ever bowling above 80mph while offering useful no-mug-with-the-bat runs from number nine. There, we’ve said it. This is, in fairness, very much an us problem rather than a Dunk one. Even the name Lewis Dunk sounds like a county cricketer, though.
Did Scotland create nothing in the first half because Dunk and Guehi were so good, or did Dunk and Guehi look so good because Scotland created nothing? Fascinating little philosophical poser there, but he was quietly very good in a 45-minute performance that did nothing to harm his cause, which is something that cannot be said for his replacement.
Rare chance to start a game for anybody, and showed vision and technique to set Marcus Rashford away and ultimately create a chance from which Phil Foden should have done far better. Snapped into the tackle and shied away from nothing in a friendly that wasn’t played like one.
Handed by far the most defensive-minded task of England’s midfielders which he did unfussily and efficiently. Caught the eye with one particularly calm chest back to his clubmate Aaron Ramsdale but generally it was a night spent doing the sort of things you only notice when they go wrong. Didn’t notice them, ergo a good night’s work.
Blazed a presentable early chance high over the bar with his left foot, but sorted his feet out brilliantly quickly to divert Walker’s cross-shot goalwards and open the scoring. After a scrappy opening 15 minutes, Foden and England settled into their work nicely and the interplay between him, Rashford and Bellingham became the game’s defining feature.
Just absurdly good all night. Somehow, going to Real Madrid has taken his game to yet another level. Involved in every good thing England did, and prominent in all three goals. Lovely feet and a cool head on the edge of the box in the build-up to England’s opening goal. Superb again in the build-up to the second, gratefully accepting the eventual gift from Robertson but importantly getting himself into the position to do so having been jinking and weaving out on the left moments earlier – a run we just don’t think he’d have made even six months ago – and then showed a butcher’s strength and a surgeon’s precision to tee up Kane for the third. So, so, so good.
Being isolated one-on-one against Jude Bellingham looks like the loneliest place in the whole world.
— Seb Stafford-Bloor (@SebSB) September 12, 2023
Did some of his customary quarterbacking but was largely a spectator in a first half where England’s attacking efforts were largely based on the quick feet and intricacy of Rashford, Foden and Bellingham rather than their record scorer. Was uncharacteristically on his heels when failing to react quickly enough to a Foden cross late in that first half, which rather summed up his opening 45 minutes. The second half was more of the same, until more Bellingham brilliance set Kane up for the sort of chance you just never, ever expect him to miss. Another goal for the collection, and that’s now 59 for England that don’t count actually.
“He’s got a left foot, he’s got a right foot,” according to Dion Dublin. He used those two feet to nice effect with a couple of smart early touches and teed up Phil Foden for England’s best chance in the opening 20 minutes. Picked out Jude Bellingham’s run midway through the half for the cross that would run for Kyle Walker to flash wide. Didn’t get on the scoresheet like Bellingham and Foden did, but played a full part in most of England’s best attacking work during his 70 minutes on the pitch.
HARRY MAGUIRE (for Marc Guehi, 46)
Oh, mate. That was a negative and right now he needs two positives. Scotland were much better after making their second-half substitutions, but there was still very little actual threat and what threat there was was being pretty handily dealt with by Dunk and co. until Maguire stuck out a big dumb leg to divert a cross past a stranded and blameless Aaron Ramsdale. Scotland hadn’t had a shot on target at this point.
BUKAYO SAKA (for Phil Foden, 71)
A quiet 20-minute cameo the main purpose of which was to once again highlight the absurd depth of England’s attacking options after 70 minutes of razzle-dazzle from Rashford and Foden.
EBERECHI EZE (for Marcus Rashford, 71)
Almost restored England’s two-goal lead after latching on to Kyle Walker’s fine pass, but while it was a decent save from Angus Gunn really Eze should have done better. The fact there was no drop-off in the quality of England’s attacking play after Rashford and Foden’s departure is a tick for Eze, though.
CALLUM WILSON (for Harry Kane, 83)
Always seems to come on just after Kane has scored, but at least this time it wasn’t a penalty.
CONOR GALLAGHER (for Jude Bellingham, 83)
Not as good as Bellingham, but in Gallagher’s defence this might currently be true of literally every footballer on earth.
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