Asked where the decision left Joe Hart Southgate said no decisions had been made regarding the World Cup this summer. “That’s where Raheem has to take credit, if a player isn’t willing then all those messages from the manager are wasted”, Southgate said.
“Who is your best player?”
The City and England winger has scored 20 goals from 31 starts and has been in inspired form all season and is close to doubling his previous season-best goals tally of 11.
After the hour mark Southgate began to make a whole host of changes to experiment with the squad, though none of the interruptions disrupted the flow of England’s attacking play, which remained quick and bright.
The No 1 spot will be a race between Stoke’s Jack Butland and Jordan Pickford of Everton.
West Ham’s stopper Joe Hart is set to be named as the No 3 keeper with Burnley’s Nick Pope losing out. He has to make the most of it.
We have to give them space to do that. Kyle Walker’s inclusion as a makeshift right centre back on Friday demonstrated that pretty clearly.
The likes of James Tarkowski and Jamie Vardy are likely to be afforded starts after missing out in Amsterdam, and Alfie Mawson could feature. We’ve only played the system a few times but this is a really good test because against the 4-3-3 of Brazil, we didn’t play out of pressure so well.
Italian skipper, Leonardo Bonucci, blocked from Young, while Donnarumma saved from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Sterling as England looked to double their advantage immediately after the break.
It was a frustrating end for England but only slightly tarnishes a good global break that will give them plenty of encouragement going into the World Cup.
Jack Wilshere could be available for Arsenal’s Premier League match against Stoke City on Sunday despite withdrawing from global duty with England.
In some ways the forgotten man of the England setup.
The 25-year-old will go into that game on the back of a 90-minute stint for England as the battle for the number one jersey heats up given Jordan Pickford’s assured display in Holland.
That’s because he offers England the kind of guile and creativity that they so desperately lack.
There is no suggestion any of those four weren’t loyal to the cause but there’s a clear message behind the move that England is bigger than any player and not the other way round. At least have him there. He also got his head up and picked out some clever passes, most notably when Ashley Young nearly made it 2-0 in the second half.
Strangely, in the more technical world of worldwide football, that might not be a huge issue.
However, despite the spirit of two of England’s greats being celebrated, John Stones’ opening moments seemed anything but, with the Manchester City center back hesitating on two occasions and affording Italy’s Ciro Immobile a chance to continue his high scoring campaign.