England began their qualification campaign for the 2020 World Cup by thrashing minnows San Marino 5-0 at Wembley Stadium on Thursday night.
The match did not just have ramifications for that tournament in Qatar, however; it provided Gareth Southgate with an opportunity to evaluate his players ahead of this summer’s rescheduled Euros, which begin with a clash against familiar foes Croatia on 13 June.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin twice netted after James Ward-Prowse had opened the scoring, with first-half captain Raheem Sterling also getting on the scoresheet and debutant Ollie Watkins finding the net after coming off the bench.
Here, The Independent takes a look at how each England player performed against San Marino ahead of further qualifiers against Albania and Poland this month.
Nick Pope – 6: Enjoyed perhaps the quietest 90 minutes of his career, but at least looked alert from start to finish.
Reece James – 7: Was only denied an early assist due to Calvert-Lewin’s inexplicable miss inside the San Marino six-yard box. It wasn’t long before the Chelsea defender set up the Everton striker, however, as England doubled their lead. Went off at the break as Trippier entered the game.
John Stones – 6: Had essentially nothing to do in a defensive capacity. Put over a close-range shot after a smart delivery from Mount bounced just in front of him. Enjoyed pushing up in the San Marino half and putting his commendable passing skills to use. Replaced by Mings at half-time.
Conor Coady – 6: Received the captain’s armband ahead of the second half, seconds before giving the ball away with an errant pass. That mistake could be put down to a lack of focus after an incredibly quiet opening 45 minutes for the Wolves centre-back. Was substituted after suffering a knock to the head.
Ben Chilwell – 8: Spent the majority of the match just outside the visitors’ box, with no inhibitions at all on the left flank. Provided the assist for England’s opener through Ward-Prowse, and so nearly scored with a long-range effort that Elia Benedettini kept out with a terrific save. Played a key role in England’s fourth goal. Alongside club team-mate Mount, the Chelsea left-back was one of Southgate’s most impressive performers here.
Kalvin Phillips – 6: Less involved than his midfielder partners in a creative sense, but worked hard and demonstrated as much with his eagerness to track back on the few occasions that San Marino advanced towards the England box.
James Ward-Prowse – 7: Netted his first goal for the Three Lions by timing a run into the San Marino box to perfection and slotting a finish into the bottom corner of the visitors’ net. Very nearly secured a brace but saw a dangerous second-half free-kick tipped onto the post by Benedettini. All evening he was keen to have the ball at his feet, and he was always looking for the positive pass.
Mason Mount – 8: Probably the standout performer for England. His application was never in doubt and his vision was backed up by consistently well-weighted passes and creative contributions. His team-mates’ finishing denied the Chelsea midfielder a few assists. Was substituted at half-time, with Phil Foden coming on.
Jesse Lingard – 6: Fine effort on goal from range forced a tremendous save out of Benedettini fairly early on. Wasted a clear opportunity to score later in the first half when he mistimed a shot after Chilwell clipped the ball to the 28-year-old. Did provide the assist for Calvert-Lewin’s second goal, though. Performed admirably, but didn’t totally grasp the opportunity to the extent that he could have – arguably appearing a little too anxious to impress after two years away from the international set-up.
Raheem Sterling – 6: Should have scored with a header inside the opening 10 minutes but mistimed his jump. Miscontrolled a fine pass from Mount shortly thereafter when in a promising position, and dragged a shot wide while under little pressure as the half-hour mark approached. Went closer as he hit the roof of the net with a shot from the edge of the box moments later, though, right before making it 3-0 to England with a close-range finish following some neat footwork. Not a poor showing from the Manchester City winger by any means, but lacking a clinical edge for much of his outing. Replaced by Bellingham at the break.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin – 8: Missed from about two yards out in the first five minutes after a sharp, low cross from James. Got on the end of a delivery by the Chelsea full-back later in the half, however, to net a decent close-range header after showing great strength to outmuscle San Marino centre-back Cristian Brolli. Made further amends for his early miss by stabbing home his second goal of the evening after an assist from Lingard. Yes, the opposition defence were of a low standard, but the Everton striker should nevertheless be commended for his brace. Left the field just after the hour mark, with Watkins coming on in his place.
Tyrone Mings – 6: San Marino didn’t exactly give the Villa centre-back many opportunities to prove his abilities.
Kieran Trippier – 7: Was immediately keen to make a positive impression upon his arrival on the pitch at the start of the second half.
Phil Foden – 7: Looked incredibly confident and lively from the moment he took to the pitch, perhaps aware that he had some work to do in order to convince Southgate that the 20-year-old should start ahead of Mount, 22, at this summer’s Euros – if the coach opts against starting both youngsters, that is.
Jude Bellingham – 6: Seventeen-year-old was certainly not lacking enthusiasm. Tried for a scissor kick midway through the second half but mistimed the attempt.
Ollie Watkins – 7: Debutant had half an hour to make an impact and did so by scoring with a controlled finish into the bottom corner.
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