In a stifled night of football, 10-man England were defeated by Denmark in the UEFA Nations League.
England’s streak of nine straight home wins was snapped as Denmark rolled up, shut down their hosts and picked up a big victory to leapfrog The Three Lions in Group 2 (with Belgium moving out on their own at the top).
Here’s how England’s players rated at Wembley:
Jordan Pickford – 4 – His complete lack of authority led to England conceding a penalty. Beyond that he wasn’t bad even if he wasn’t tested all that much. But as always he remains a liability.
Kyle Walker – 6 – Conceded a penalty, somewhat harshly. Switched to left-back and performed reasonably although he had no idea where he was positionally and was lucky Denmark didn’t exploit that too much.
Conor Coady – 7 – Massive early block to prevent a clean shot at goal. A solid display from England’s best defender.
Harry Maguire – 3 – Sent off in the first-half after two foolish tackles led to two yellow cards. Can have no complaints whatsoever about either decision. Doesn’t look in the right headspace to play football since his summer problems and you have to question the decision to start him from Southgate.
Reece James – 8 – Didn’t do much in defence but sent in several sublime crosses that no one attacked. James was a constant outlet on the right and it was baffling that none of the strikers took advantage of the brilliant balls he repeatedly put in the box. Sent off after the final whistle for seemingly abusing the referee but his performance on the field was supreme. You can see why Gareth Southgate prefers him to Trent Alexander-Arnold in the role, he fits it like a glove.
Declan Rice – 6 – A calm and composed showing.
Kalvin Phillips – 6 – Supremely confident on the ball as always. moved it around well. Nothing too spectacular, however.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles – 5 – Played reasonably well on the left until he was subbed off following the red card.
Mason Mount – 6 – Saw one header that drew a miracle save from Kasper Schmeichel, he didn’t really produce much given the faith shown in him by Gareth Southgate. Worked hard, though.
Harry Kane – 6 – Missed a great chance and in general just floundered about looking short of fitness (what else is new?) but did win some fouls and put in a delightful cross in at the death.
Marcus Rashford – 5 – Ineffective. Never short of running but couldn’t get it going.
Tyrone Mings (for Maguire 36′) – 7 – Came on after Maguire’s red and put in a proper shift to solidify England at the back. Given recent showings this season it’s hard to argue that Mings shouldn’t be the first name on the team-sheet in terms of the defence.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin (for Rashford 72′) – 5 – Came on late and wasn’t properly supplied.
Jadon Sancho (for Mount 73′) – 5 – Couldn’t get into the game at all.
Jordan Henderson (for Rice 76′) – 5 – Came on late and couldn’t unleash his trademark passing.
Gareth Southgate – 3 – Picked a bizarre XI from the start, putting enormous trust in a half-fit Harry Kane and middling Mason Mount. Completely failed to adapt to the red card, swapping his full-backs constantly and preventing his side from building any momentum in the only areas they looked threatening: out wide.
His substitutions came too late and were too ineffective, and the fact that Jack Grealish never saw the pitch when the game was crying out for a creative maverick like him was just absolutely baffling.
Southgate won lots of fans in 2018 with his positive approach, but now things are proving much harder and there are disciplinary issues abound he looks a little bit like a dad completely out of depth trying to coach his son’s side.
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