After the bitter disappointment of the World Cup, Gareth Southgate registered his best ever win as national team coach as the Three Lions beat Spain 3-2 in what was an incredible UEFA Nations League game.
England dominated Spain the first-half thanks to some quick and decisive transition play. Raheem Sterling shook the monkey from his back as he opened the scoring with a superb counter-attack before Rashford put England 2-0 up. Sterling increased England’s lead in the following a brilliant lay off from Harry Kane to send them into half-time 3-0 up.
The second-half was a different story as England became much more passive and sat off to allow Spain the ball, which is understandable after their sterling performance in the first-half.
In particular, Harry Winks was superb in the first half, in what was only his second game for England and with the Tottenham man in midfield, it looks as though England finally has the midfielder Southgate has been crying out for.
During the World Cup, it was quite evident that England lacked a midfielder that can play forward and take the ball under pressure. As Croatia game wore on, England constantly lumped the ball forward under pressure and constantly lost the ball.
Against Spain, however, England were finally able to play with confidence as they had a midfield that could play forward and receive the ball under pressure, in the first-half at least. Next, to Dier, Winks provided England with a great outlet through to the forwards. Moreover, his energy was crucial in England not only being able to play forward but also press Spain aggressively from the front.
In the second-half, Winks was asked to do more of a defensive role but again, he came through with flying colours. He may not have been able to do much with the ball but Winks still finished with a 86% pass accuracy rating. Despite England conceding two goals, without Winks and Barkley next to Dier, they could well have lost the game.
He may not have been able to dominate with the ball in the second-half but what is for sure, is that Southgate has found his key midfield man.Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more notifications!