Well, from England’s point of view, that was disappointing. Coming off the back of a satisfying performance and all three points against Croatia, Gareth Southgate’s men coughed and spluttered their way to a draw at home against one of their biggest rivals. Performances like this often promote knee-jerk reactions from the media and it will be interesting to read the headlines on the back pages of the tabloids this week. With the sound of the full-time whistle still ringing in my ears, I’ve scored the players below.
England Starting Lineup Ratings
GK: Jordan Pickford – 8
A solid, impressive performance from the Evertonian stopper. Made a fantastic save towards the end of the first half and oozed calmness and composure throughout the game. Once again, his distribution was spot on with a brilliant ball over the top to Sterling that wasn’t taken advantage of. He will be delighted with another clean sheet and the confidence boost that comes along with it.
DEF: Luke Shaw – 6
Made one or two impressive marauding runs down the left-hand side but never showed the quality final ball or cross that would’ve given the Scots something to deal with.
DEF: Tyrone Mings – 6.5
Defensively very solid but didn’t display the ability to be able to start of meaning full attacks from the back. When you compare him to some of centre backs from the top teams in this tournament, there is an astounding standout difference in the composure when in possession around the half way line.
DEF: John Stones – 6
Had a huge headed chance from a corner in the first half that rattled the post- in all honesty he should’ve done far better with the chance after being completely unmarked. To get the very best out of Stones, it feels like Southgate will have to rely on the return of Harry Maguire- if/when that happens remains is to be seen.
DEF: Reece James – 6
It seemed to me that James had been instructed to sit deeper and not make the overlapping runs that we’ve come to expect from the Chelsea man. Interesting that when Kane was subbed off, the armband was handed to James- a sign of how highly Southgate rates him.
MID: Mason Mount – 5
Offered brief glimpses of his ability but never found any traction in the game. Worryingly low standard of set piece delivery will leave Southgate with more questions about his selection for the Czech Republic game.
MID: Declan Rice – 6
Shielded the back line well and chipped in with some tidy tackles that broke up Scottish attacks but failed to show enough attacking impetus when on the ball. At the top level of international football, holding midfielders need to be able to offer something in and out of possession- something that Rice did not do.
MID: Kalvin Phillips – 6
Had the license to roam forward while his partner, Declan Rice, sat further back, however wasn’t able to use that freedom to his advantage. You feel that if Henderson reaches full fitness while England are still in the tournament, Phillips will surely be the one who drops out of the starting XI to accommodate the Liverpool captain.
ATT: Raheem Sterling – 6
When Raheem Sterling has games like this, it usually coincides with a disappointing team performance. The fact that he was the most dispossessed England player (3 times) paints the picture perfectly. Tried to make things happen but was inevitably unable to create anything of any worth for the Three Lions.
ATT: Harry Kane – 4.5
Anonymous, isolated, and bereft of service and energy. If England are to go deep into this summer’s tournament then they will expect and need more from their talismanic striker. You could make the case that he wasn’t given anything decent to work with but, even in possession, Kane looked miles away from his usual standard.
ATT: Phil Foden – 8
England’s brightest spark and can feel extremely hard done by to have been subbed off as early as he was. He constantly does things with a football that leave you wondering how someone could manage such a feat and was the only player in white who looked like they were capable of causing the resolute Scottish defence any problems.
Sub: Jack Grealish (subbed on for Foden 63 mins) – 6
Looked lively and, once again, put on display his impressive ability to retain possession in tight spaces and draw fouls from the opposition. I would’ve preferred to see him either introduced at half time or given the chance to show what he could do from the very start.
Sub: Marcus Rashford (subbed on for Harry Kane 74 mins) – 6
Difficult to lay too much blame at the feet of the Man United attacker when he was thrust into a game in which the opposition were so defensively sound. I feel like it is difficult to pinpoint which position suits Rashford the best for England but it was interesting to see that Southgate chose him to come on for Kane instead of Calvert-Lewin.
Manager: Gareth Southgate – 5
With the benefit of hindsight, Southgate must surely have to question a few of his tactical decisions after this performance. It was a derby game in which he knew the Scottish players would be fully determined to play the role of ‘party poopers’. Would a player like Grealish had been better over Mount? With a flurry of strong tackles early in the game, England seemed to withdraw into themselves and play a safer style of football after a bright start.
Southgate’s substitutions also raised questions after the second game in a row where Jadon Sancho hasn’t been utilised with familiar favourites deemed more worthy of selection. England (and more importantly, Southgate) will want a much better performance from their final group stage game against the Czech Republic on Tuesday.
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