Harry Maguire bounced back from a difficult period as his header set England on their way to a 3-0 friendly victory over Republic of Ireland.
Sent off in his last England match at Wembley, Maguire redeemed himself with a fine header early on to put England in the driving seat.
He may be struggling to find form for Borussia Dortmund, but Jadon Sancho had no such trouble on the international stage, as he fired his first England goal in over a year into the bottom corner to make it two with just 31 minutes on the clock.
Should Kane be rested or played into form?
England remained in command in the second half, with Dominic Calvert-Lewin emphatically firing a penalty into the top corner, allowing Gareth Southgate the luxury of bringing on Jude Bellingham, aged 17 years and 136 days, for his debut as England beat Ireland for the first time since 1985.
Jack Grealish et Jadon Sancho avec le maillot de l'Angleterre
Image credit: Getty Images
It could not have gone much worse for Maguire this summer after he was found guilty of aggravated assault, resisting arrest, and repeated attempts of bribery on the Greek island of Mykonos, before then seeing red for England against Denmark last month.
However, given the captain’s armband on his return to Wembley, Maguire headed his second goal for England to put the hosts in front.
Another man out to prove a point – Sancho – then delivered a fine finish, cutting onto his right foot to score just his third goal for his country. Ireland looked dead and buried from there on in.
After Bukayo Saka drew a foul from Cyrus Christie in the penalty area, Calvert-Lewin was given the chance to score his first senior career spot-kick, which he arrowed into the top corner like he had taken 100 to put the icing on the cake, with Ireland finishing the match scoreless again, remaining winless in six under Stephen Kenny.
England strength in depth encouraging. England’s strength in depth has been well documented, but the young players have rarely all stepped up and shone at once, until tonight. Jack Grealish was effervescent in attack, picking up positions across the frontline to make him hard to track, Jadon Sancho put his Dortmund troubles behind him by getting on the scoresheet, while Mason Mount and Bukayo Saka also impressed.
Some big guns were rested with Nations League games to come, and pressure from Premier League managers ringing in Gareth Southgate’s ear. The problem Southgate has now, though, is how to integrate Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling and co back into his side.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Jack Grealish (England): The Aston Villa skipper has not always been Southgate’s go-to man, but on this form, Grealish is simply undroppable. He offers something few can, and every time he gets the ball, Grealish looks a threat. Grealish has provided assists in back-to-back games for England – he’s had a hand in 12 goals in 11 appearances in all competitions for club and country this season, too.
England: Pope 6, James 7, Keane 6, Maguire 7, Mings 7, Saka 6, Winks 6, Mount 8, Sancho 7, Grealish 8, Calvert-Lewin 7. Subs: D Henderson 6, Abraham 6, Maitland-Niles 6, Bellingham 6, Foden 6.
Ireland: Randolph 6, Doherty 6, Duffy 6, Horgan 6, Egan 6, Browne 6, Hendrick 6, O'Dowda 6, Hourihane 5, Christie 6, Idah 5. Subs: Brady 5, McClean 6, Long 6, O'Shea 6, Curtis 6, Molumby 6.
8’ - CHANCE! Sancho flicks a corrner on, Tyrone Mings is there, but can only head over the top from close range.
18’ - GOAL! England 1-0 Ireland(Maguire). Redemption for Maguire as he heads England in front. It is only his second goal for England, but after what he has been through, he will cherish that one! Winks with the cross and Maguire, who had stayed up from a corner, heads into the net.
31’ - GOAL! England 2-0 Ireland (Sancho). A first goal in over a year for his country for Sancho! He may not be in red-hot form for Dortmund, but Sancho gets the ball out of his feet after collecting a pass from Grealish, and shows his quality, drilling into the bottom corner.
49’ - WIDE! Lovely flick through from Mings, skill not befitting of a defender, Saka collects the ball, but prods wide. Good chance.
55’ - PENALTY FOR ENGLAND! Saka commits Christie into the tackle, goes down, penalty.
56’ - GOAL! England 3-0 Ireland (Calvert-Lewin). What a penalty from Calvert-Lewin! Top corner from the Everton man.
- Republic of Ireland are without a goal in their last five matches in all competitions, their longest run without scoring since another run of five between November 1995-May 1996.
- At 17 years and 136 days, Jude Bellingham became England’s third youngest debutant after Theo Walcott in 2006 (17y 75d) and Wayne Rooney in 2003 (17y 111d). He’s the youngest player to debut for England while playing for a non-English club side.
- Harry Maguire became the 33rd different Manchester United player to score for the England men’s team – no club has provided more different goalscorers for the Three Lions (level with Tottenham).
- Jadon Sancho became the first player to score for England at Wembley while playing for a non-English club side since Steve McManaman v Luxembourg in September 1999.
- Each of England’s last four penalty goals have been scored by different players (Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Marcus Rashford and Dominic Calvert-Lewin), the longest such streak of different penalty scorers since a run involving Terry McDermott, Kevin Keegan, Phil Neal, Bryan Robson and Gary Lineker between 1980-1990 (excluding shootouts).
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