England player ratings from their World Cup qualifier with Hungary in Budapest, as Raheem Sterling, Harry Kane, Harry Maguire and Declan Rice get on the scoresheet in front of hostile crowd at the Puskas Arena.
Friday 3 September 2021 08:34, UK
England did manage to get one supporter into the Puskas Arena: Jordan Pickford. The Everton goalkeeper was one of England's star performers at the Euros, conceding just two goals in seven games, but he hardly had a touch of the ball in Budapest, instead just watching his team-mates secure the win in front of him. There was one shot on target with 10 minutes to go, just to make sure he was still paying attention.
Praise for Kyle Walker usually revolves around his speed and strength but he showed some brilliant skill to feed a pass through the Hungary defence for Harry Kane at the start of the second half. It was an exceptional through ball and deserved to be tucked away. That pass from deep was the highlight, with Walker - who had more touches than any other England player - struggling to make headway down the right flank.
John Stones had a good Euros but rewind to the last World Cup qualifier and it was his mistake which allowed Poland to score at Wembley. He nearly made a similar error 20 minutes in against Hungary, misjudging a long clearance down the pitch but just managed to recover under pressure from Roland Sallai. Regained his composure quickly.
Harry Maguire squeezed home a second half header to put England three up and it was that threat from set-pieces which was the main feature of his performance in Budapest, with little defensive work to do. A real asset from corners and free-kicks.
Luke Shaw scored his first goal for his country last time out in the Euro 2020 final and while this was a more low-key performance from the Manchester United man he left with an assist for Maguire and the knowledge he riled up the Hungary fans with that set-piece. Clearly first choice in that spot now.
With Kalvin Phillips pushing on, Declan Rice's role was to sit in front of England's centre-backs and he covered plenty of ground across the pitch to try to snuff out Hungarian counter-attacks and get England passing through the lines. He was booked in the second half after following up a brilliant tackle by stretching for a second but was undeterred and, moments later, made the tackle and pass to start the move for the crucial opener. Getting better all the time - and was rewarded with some generous goalkeeping when his late shot squeezed home to make it four.
Kalvin Phillips was voted England's player of the year by supporters this week and he looks increasingly assured in this group. He attempted to operate in more advance areas in Budapest but it was his interception cleverly diverted to Mason Mount which led to England's second.
Involvement in two of England's three goals was fitting reward for Mason Mount's energetic efforts in Hungary. The Chelsea man pushed right up onto the Hungarian defensive line when England had the ball early on and linked up frequently with Jack Grealish on the left side, with that combination allowing Mount to cut back for Sterling to score before he helped the ball onto the Man City man to tee up Kane for number three. You can see why he's a Southgate favourite.
Man City's £100m man Jack Grealish was handed just his third competitive start for his country on Thursday and delivered a typically lively, tricky performance. He teed Kane up for a couple of one-on-ones and was left scratching his head as to why they didn't end in goals but he got his assist late on when Rice's short squirmed in. As ever, repeatedly fouled by the opposition, but put on a good display of the role he has to play for his national team going forward.
England's star man in the summer underlined his importance to the team once again, scoring the breakthrough goal with a trademark finish and setting up Kane for England's second. A target for the hostile Hungarian fans but continued to demand the ball and he could have had a second when he broke through after seeing a couple of penalty shouts turned down.
Harry Kane got himself on the scoresheet but he'll be grumbling all the way back to St George's Park about those three missed one-on-ones. He took his goal expertly, diving to head in Sterling's deflected cross but made a real mess of the finishes for the other chances he'd be expected to put away.
With Southgate waiting until the 84th minute to make any changes, the boys from the bench were unable to have a major impact.
England are back in action on Sunday when they face Andorra in a World Cup qualifier at Wembley; kick-off 5pm.