Who shone for England against San Marino and who took the opportunity at Wembley to make a claim for a Euro 2020 place?
Friday 26 March 2021 09:14, UK
All-but a literal spectator: Did not have a shot to save and only touched the ball in the 16th and 19th minutes during the first half. For the entirety of the second half, he just stood and stared.
Only given the first half, but was a regular bright spark during those 45 minutes, creating a wave of chances from the right flank and assisting Calvert-Lewin for his first goal. No footballer will be happy to be withdrawn at half-time, but his exit alongside Stones, Sterling and Mount can be interpreted as a signal of how important he is to Gareth Southgate.
Industrious and consistent, Chilwell's night could not have gone much better. But given Luke Shaw's form, and the versatility of Kieran Trippier and Bukayo Saka, it's far from a given that he will even make the Euro 2020 squad.
Back in after an 18-month absence and should have capped his return with a goal in the 10th minute rather than lofting over. But Stones' comeback was otherwise perfectly satisfactory, replete with those smooth-as-silk step-outs into midfield that make his selection so useful and should transfer perfectly to any change in formation to a five-man defence.
Handed the captaincy following the half-time changes, Coady has less reason to fret about Stones' comeback than Tyrone Mings. One interesting feature of Coady's performance was that he lined up as the left-sided central defender in the first half but on the right in the second. That versatility, relatively minor but useful all the same, may well make him the first in line behind the expected summer partnership of Stones and Harry Maguire.
While England have a surplus of options in attack, there are relatively few in the centre of midfield - especially with Jordan Henderson still sidelined with injury - and so Ward-Prowse's positive outing would have been especially well received by his manager. Took his goal smartly and produced moments of genuine creativity to go alongside his undoubted set-piece strength that was stressed with a free-kick which rattled the post.
Very tidy without standing out. But against such limited opponents, it was perhaps inevitable Phillips' measured style of play would leave him relatively quiet.
Claimed an assist, but failed to put his name on the scoresheet and the feeling nagged by the end of the game that Lingard's performance was a nearly-but-not-quite affair when he really needed to produce a nine-out-of-ten showing to disrupt the established order. We will see.
There is such an emphasis on the virtues of pass and move at Man City that it felt a bit of a throwback to watch Sterling - given the armband for the evening - take the ball against San Marino and then take his man on instead. But, even with the caveat that it was only San Marino, Sterling's throwback was a reminder of what a dangerous player he can be with ball at feet, capable of going left and right, inside and out.
All managers have their favourites and the suspicion is close to a certainty that Mount is a real favourite of Southgate. Deployed centrally behind the single striker, Mount was excellent during his 45 minutes of action, creating eight chances - the most in a World Cup qualifier since Xavi in 2008. He may not have the flair of Jack Grealish or Phil Foden, but his value to Southgate cannot be underestimated.
Spurned a straightforward chance in the opening minutes, missing the ball entirely in front of a gaping goal, but made no mistake shortly afterwards for England's second of the evening. Ultimately, of course, there is little or no chance of Calvert-Lewin being anything other Harry Kane's understudy this summer. But with every snapshot of involvement on Thursday night, it was possible to see what an asset Calvert-Lewin's fearsome aerial prowess could be off the bench through the summer. Already, he may be the 12th man on the team-sheet.
Barely involved after his introduction except for accidentally whacking Coady on the nose.
Perhaps the most noteworthy - if indirect - feature of Trippier's evening was Southgate pre-match reference to picking players this summer 'with tournament experience'. But in terms of actual performance, Trippier's paled when compared to James', lacking the same verve and pace. With Trent Alexander-Arnold in reserve, there's a real dilemma for Southgate. Just how important is tournament experience exactly?
Showed some lovely feet after his arrival but made a real mess of his best opportunity to score late on, mis-hitting a bicycle kick wide. But nobody should be in any doubts as to his talent or potential.
Selected for the wrong half as San Marino went ultra-deep and England eased off. In fairness to Foden, he was England's brightest spark after the break, even if those sparks did not ignite. There are no easy answers for how Foden can be accommodated in a starting XI, either this week or in the summer, but it will be a real shame if he is stuck on the periphery.
What more could he want? Capped his England debut with a well-taken goal, a good touch followed by a neat finish into the corner of the net. Did not look out of place, but, as with all of the night's ratings, the final word has to be that it was only San Marino.