england-player-ratings:-kane,-maguire-hit-back

England player ratings: Kane, Maguire hit back

England thrashed Albania 5-0 at Wembley to move to the brink of World Cup qualification but how did each player fare?

Jordan Pickford – 7

Made himself known to Mytro Uzuni inside the first five minutes with hefty body barge – and then thwarted the Albania forward more conventionally with a smart parry. Did what little he needed to well.

Reece James – 8

Back in the starting line-up alongside fellow Chelsea flank flier, Ben Chilwell, as Gareth Southgate reverted to a back three, and continued stellar club form for country. Rampaged down the right, delivered a string of superb balls – including for Maguire’s opener – and sparked the attack that led to Harry Kane’s goal with one of several driving runs.

Kyle Walker – 6

Dug out of a hole by Pickford when his backpass ran short but otherwise tidy in possession and frequently looking for the overlap.

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Highlights of the World Cup European qualifying group I match between England and Albania.

John Stones – 6

Composed in middle of back three when called upon but largely a spectator. Notable moment came in second half with nasty clash of heads with James but both players were able to continue.

Harry Maguire – 7

Out of sorts for Manchester United but on target inside 10 minutes at Wembley with a thunderous header that was followed by hands cupped to ears. Sky Sports pundit Roy Keane had a withering response: “It’s embarrassing”. Got up the pitch to support attacks where he could and made a couple of important blocks.

Ben Chilwell – 6

More at home in wing-back system after being left out during the Euros; overshadowed by James but solid if unspectacular.

Kalvin Phillips – 6

Back after missing October’s World Cup Qualifiers through injury. Few loose touches but hunted and hustled well and kept England ticking; provides crucial platform from which others can threaten.

Jordan Henderson – 8

Jordan Henderson celebrates his goal for England against Albania

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Jordan Henderson celebrates his goal for England against Albania

Experience got the nod in Declan Rice’s absence but the Liverpool veteran turned back the clock with a fine display, even if the opposition afforded him unusually generous time and space. “It was like seeing a young Henderson, the way he was running beyond,” said Keane. Showed legs to follow James up the pitch and then get to the byline, before dinking a dreamy ball onto Kane’s head. Feet danced in tight space and brought only his second England goal when Kane returned the favour.

Phil Foden – 6

Shot well over in first half when he could have done better but showed some typically classy touches, played neat give-and-go with Henderson in the build-up to Kane’s first goal, and grabbed an assist.

Harry Kane – 8

Harry Kane celebrates after putting England 2-0 against Albania

Image:
Harry Kane celebrates after putting England 2-0 against Albania

Shrugged off questions about form and focus in the pre-match press conference – and hit back with a first-half hat-trick, sealed with a sizzling scissor-kick. Has now scored 39 goals in competitive matches for England, beating the record set by Wayne Rooney – and, with 44 England goals overall, is storming towards Rooney’s outright record of 53. Perfect treble, perfect response – but could have had several more.

Raheem Sterling – 7

Always prone to taking a touch too many but ran Albania ragged in first half with energy and direct running. Unlucky when early driving run was stopped without punishment and notably drew cluster of defenders before slotting in Kane for England’s fourth. Made way for Emile Smith Rowe late on.

Subs:

Jack Grealish – 6

Entered fray just after half-hour mark as Foden departed and Sterling moved to right. Tried his best jinking in from left but unable to make an impact as game petered out, with only effort deflected wide.

Jude Bellingham – 6

On for Phillips midway through the second half and showed box-to-box bustle with several smart runs and clever flick from which James might have scored.

Tammy Abraham – 6

Ploughed furrow up top after replacing Kane but unable to get in on the goalfest.

Trent Alexander-Arnold – 6

Replaced the impressive James in the closing stages but game long finished as a contest. Starring again for his club but faces a real challenge to nail down a regular spot for his country.

Emile Smith Rowe – 6

Handed debut as he replaced Sterling for final 15 minutes and was swiftly driving at Albania’s defence. Keep up club form and plenty more opportunities will come…