5 issues we realized as Three Lions cruise to victory


<p>Harry Kane celebrates with Phil Foden</p> (The FA via Getty Images)

Harry Kane celebrates with Phil Foden

(The FA by way of Getty Photos)

England overcame a gradual begin to cruise to a cushty victory over Albania, with targets from Harry Kane and Mason Mount securing a 2-0 victory in Tirana.

The Three Lions took some time to get up, and have been fortunate to not fall behind after 12 minutes when Myrto Uzuni blazed a shot over the bar after being performed by on aim.

They continued to be pissed off by a cussed Albanian defence however discovered the breakthrough because of Harry Kane’s glorious header from a Luke Shaw cross.

Kane rattled the crossbar from lower than six yards moments later, earlier than Phil Foden noticed an effort tipped onto the publish early within the second half.

Mason Mount doubled England’s lead because the guests punished an Albania mistake simply after the hour, as Gareth Southgate noticed an improved, if unspectacular, show from his facet after the break. Listed below are 5 issues we realized as England made it two wins out of two on the street to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

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Kane set to thrive on attacking high quality

If Harry Kane received the Golden Boot on the 2018 World Cup regardless of feeding off scraps for a lot of the event, what number of targets might England’s quantity 9 rack up on the Euros this summer season when surrounded by all of England’s newfound attacking expertise?

Based mostly on this show, it might rely upon how a lot he embraces the function of a “penalty field” striker.

A lot of Kane’s finest work for Tottenham Hotspur within the Premier League this season has been by his play as a 9/10 hybrid, dropping deep to obtain the ball earlier than firing passes into house for striker companion Son Heung-min.

We’ve seen him do this for England, too, notably within the 3-2 win in Spain in October 2018. However England are a distinct staff now, abruptly blessed with an array gamers who do their finest work with the ball at their ft in half-spaces on the sting of the field.

As we noticed towards Albania, England’s play can change into a bit of crowded if you then add Kane dropping deep into the combination, whereas they have been far simpler when the Spurs striker stayed between the posts and positioned himself on the final line of the Albania defence.

After a irritating opening half hour, he snatched on the alternative to offer England the lead when he diverted Shaw’s cross throughout aim and into the web within the thirty eighth minute, earlier than hitting the bar moments later when he received on the tip of one other glorious supply from the left, this time from Raheem Sterling.

Kane was a lot quieter within the second half, though he did present the help for Mount’s aim, however these two first-half makes an attempt confirmed how way more efficient England are when their captain performs as a poacher.

Harry Kane celebrates opening the scoringAFP via Getty Images

Harry Kane celebrates opening the scoringAFP by way of Getty Photos

England remembers

In case you have been looking for narrative forward of England’s match in Tirana, you solely needed to look to Southgate’s again 4.

Not solely was it an all-Manchester back-line, with Manchester Metropolis’s Kyle Walker and John Stones becoming a member of Manchester United’s Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw in a defence that bridged derby divides, but it surely additionally featured two key remembers to Southgate’s facet.

Whereas Stones made his England return towards San Marino, it was Shaw’s flip this time round to make his Three Lions comeback as he handed his first worldwide begin since September 2018.

The left-back has been in high-quality type for United this season, more and more changing into a risk in attacking areas, and he topped his recall to the England staff by aiding Harry Kane’s first-half header with an correct cross from the left.

Sunday’s back-line additionally had a well-known look to it, with Southgate reuniting the 2018 World Cup defence of Walker, Maguire and Stones that helped England attain the semi-finals in Russia, albeit in a distinct formation.

It’s a trio that Southgate clearly trusts, and with the type of Shaw an added bonus on the left, it might be no shock to see the England supervisor go along with it once more once they welcome Poland to Wembley on Wednesday.

Midfield imbalance

After being rested for England’s win over San Marino, it was no shock to see Declan Rice introduced into England’s midfield for the journey to Tirana.

It was a attention-grabbing, nonetheless, to see that Rice got here in to play alongside Kalvin Phillips, with the Leeds United man retaining his place from Thursday’s 5-0 victory.

Out of all of England’s positional departments, the central midfield space is the one with essentially the most query marks surrounding it forward of the Euros, and the opportunity of a Rice-Phillips double pivot has been largely unmentioned to this point.

On paper, it was a conservative choice, with each gamers providing comparable skillsets in shielding England’s again 4, and in actuality, it was.

England regarded gradual and ponderous in a poor first-half show, and seemed to be in determined want of one other pure ball provider who might progress the ball into the ultimate third. Southgate’s facet additionally regarded inclined to the counter-attack, regardless of the choice of two holding midfielders, and Albania ought to have taken the lead following a break within the first half.

Within the face of opponents who have been pleased to drop deep, the Rice-Phillips pivot proved to be a complicated selection by Southgate, and England regarded much more threatening within the second half following the introduction of James Ward-Prowse, who was ready to make runs in behind. The stability of Rice-plus-Phillips didn’t work for England right here.

Mason Mount celebrates scoring England’s secondGetty Images

Mason Mount celebrates scoring England’s secondGetty Photos

England select to not use their voice, but

Regardless of rising calls from throughout Europe this week, England’s gamers didn’t take part on the seen stand towards human rights abuses in Qatar, the host nation of the 2022 World Cup, earlier than their match on the Air Albania Stadium.

Gamers from Germany and Netherlands have joined Norway in displaying their assist for migrant staff within the nation this week, and on Saturday, Erling Haaland and his Norway team-mates stepped up their marketing campaign by urging different European nations to comply with their protest by carrying t-shirts that learn: “Norway, Germany, Subsequent?”

Southgate has stated the FA are in discussions with Amnesty Worldwide in an effort to formulate their response, whereas Kane stated England’s gamers would focus on the problem, however evidently any motion they take is not going to prolong to the pitch, which was their method earlier than the San Marino match as properly.

This technology of England internationals have proved, on quite a few events, to be eloquent audio system on a variety of social points, together with racism and meals inequality, however have but to stray into this one.

The difficulty of human rights abuses in Qatar, and soccer’s responses to it within the construct as much as the 2022 World Cup, is not going to be going away any time quickly, so the longer England go with no seen show of condemnation, particularly whereas different European nations prepared the ground, the louder their silence will change into.

Nick Pope was rarely called into actionAFP via Getty Images

Nick Pope was hardly ever known as into actionAFP by way of Getty Photos

Exhausting to evaluate Pope

After maybe having the quietest 90 minutes of his goalkeeping profession towards San Marino at Wembley, Pope was rightly given one other shot to stake his declare for the England No 1 jersey towards Albania, however once more had little to do right here.

There was a bit extra proof to look at the Burnley goalkeeper with, nonetheless, even when he didn’t have a save to make.

In a poor first half for England, it didn’t assist that Pope was lower than convincing along with his ft, slicing one kick into contact along with his left foot early on earlier than hitting one other go to his overlooked of play halfway by the primary half.

These moments of uncertainty, regardless of how small and insignificant they seem, can set the tone of video games on the highest degree, however Pope did get better for a extra assured second-half show, and a second clear sheet of the week.

On this proof, we are not any nearer to determining the Pope-Jordan Pickford debate, however with Robert Lewandowski to come back at Wembley on Wednesday, Southgate can a minimum of anticipate his goalkeeper to be examined towards the Bayern Munich striker, which may very well be how Pope stakes his declare to usurp Jordan Pickford and declare the primary jersey.



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