Youthful England show promise in draw with World Champions
12 November, 2017
ENGLAND surprised the doubters with an encouraging display against World Champions, Germany at Wembley Stadium. It was the first goalless draw at Wembley since October 2010.
Fielding a total of five debutants, Gareth Southgate’s men should have won it too, but substitute Jesse Lingard hooked his shot over the bar for what was literally the last kick of the game.
Coach Southgate paid tribute to a side who were the most inexperienced to take the field since 1980 for a full England international – the starting line-up yielded just 101 caps compared to Germany’s 297.
Tottenham Eric Dier led by example with a fine performance as captain for the night, and was perhaps a pointer for the future.
“It was a brilliant experience for our players, and without getting too carried away, it was an encouraging performance”, said Southgate. Southgate, shorn of the likes of Tottenham’s injured trio Harry Winks, Deli Alli and Harry Kane, was indebted to debutant keeper, Jordan Pickford who twice made goal-saving stops to deny Timo Werner in an entertaining first half.
But, if Pickford had an impressive debut, step forward Ruben Loftus Cheek.
His assured man of the match performance was justified; his calm, cool head and eye for a pass made this arguably one of the finest senior England debuts in years.
‘I have watched Ruben since he played at U16 level, said Southgate of the Crystal Palace loanee. “He has so many good attributes and we believe in him.”
Despite Loftus-Cheek excelling, the tempo was markedly slower in the second half.
That was down to Germany, who stifled the fast counter attacking threat of another debutant Tammy Abraham and his co-striker, Jamie Vardy.
But, a Vardy header on 49 minutes drew a point blank save from Marc-Andre Ter Stegen in the German goal.
At the other end, Pickford had little to do, and England’s inexperienced defence showed a calm maturity that should put the whole squad in a good frame of mind for another stern test: Tuesday’s friendly match-up against Brazil.
England: Pickford; Jones (Gomez 25), Maguire, Stones; Trippier (Walker 71), Dier (C), Livermore ( Cork 85), Rose (Bertrand 71) ; Loftus Cheek; Abraham (Rashford 59) Vardy (Lingard 85)
Subs not used Hart, Young, Keane, Cahill
Germany: Ter Stegen; Ginger, Hummels (C), Rudiger; Kimmich, Gundogan ((Rudy 85) Ozil, he; Draxler (Can 66), Werner (Wagner 73), Sane (Brandt 85)
Subs not used: Trapp, Sule, Plattenhardt, Khedira, Leno, Stindl, Boateng, Gotze