ENGLAND PLAYER RATINGS: Phil Foden shines in a central role
ENGLAND PLAYER RATINGS: Phil Foden shines in a central role and Rico Lewis impresses on debut… while Ollie Watkins struggles with Harry Kane introduced early on
- England drew 1-1 with North Macedonia in their final Euro 202 qualification game
- Harry Kane forced an own goal with Jordan Pickford saving a penalty in first half
- Trent and Bellingham can play together but can’t get in each other’s way – IAKO
England finished their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign with a whimper against North Macedonia as they were held to a 1-1 draw.
With Gareth Southgate’s side already qualified for the summer’s tournament as group winners, the match provided opportunity for some fringe players to stake their claims for potential spots in the squad.
Rico Lewis made his senior England debut, while Harry Kane was rested with Ollie Watkins starting up front and Trent Alexander-Arnold again in midfield.
Kane was introduced in the second half and his presence made a difference immediately, chasing a Phil Foden corner to force Jani Atanasov into an own goal as England cam from behind after home captain Enis Bardhi scored a rebound having seen his penalty saved by Jordan Pickford.
Mail Sport’s SAMI MOKBEL was in Skopje to rate the players from the final international of 2023.
England ended their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign with a whimper as they drew 1-1 with North Macedonia
Harry Kane forced an own goal from Jani Atanasov minutes after being introduced from the substitutes bench
England manager Gareth Southgate rotated his team to give some of his fringe players a chance to impress
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Jordan Pickford – 6.5: His distribution remains his biggest asset and will ensure he remains No 1 for the Euros. Saved Enis Bardhi’s well but couldn’t do anything about the rebound – still the first England goalkeeper to save a penalty in open play for a decade.
Kyle Walker – 6: England’s 126th captain. Didn’t have to do much defending but his strength and pace will always get him out of trouble. Probably nailed to start at right back in Germany.
Harry Maguire – 5: Gave North Macedonia a good opportunity in the first half and almost gave away a penalty in recovery after getting his studs stuck in the pitch. It may be him versus Marc Guehi in the battle for who partners John Stones in England’s best XI.
Marc Guehi – 6.5: Was allowed to show his comfort on the ball more than he is at club level. The 23-year-old has at least pulled ahead as first reserve in the centre-back department and more minutes with Maguire will be useful should Stones’s injury issues persist.
Rico Lewis – 6.5: Played inverted as he does for Manchester City on his debut the day before his 19th birthday. Gave away a harsh penalty for a hand in the face against Bojan Miovski which was just one of many baffling decisions made by referee Filip Glova. Has a bright future ahead for his country.
Jordan Pickford saved a penalty from Enis Bardhi, but the home captain scored the rebound
Rico Lewis (centre) impressed on his debut on the day before his 19th birthday, though did give away a harsh penalty
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 5.5: Struggled to control the game as he did against Malta and as we have become accustomed to seeing in an England shirt. Was booked when he showed his frustrations in the second period. May well now be ahead of Kalvin Phillips in the midfield pecking order.
Declan Rice – 6.5: Hit the post from distance early on and is starting to bring goal scoring instinct into his game having had a strike ruled out at Wembley on Friday. Is as nailed as it gets for a spot in Germany.
Bukayo Saka – 6.5: Got beaten up a bit in the first half but turned it on less than two minutes into the second half with a mazy run to set up Jack Grealish for his ruled out goal. Could have released the ball a bit earlier at times.
Phil Foden – 7: Struggled to get on the ball early in his chance at No 10 and was forced to come short at times to get involved in play. Got better as the game went on and showed Southgate he can indeed play centrally.
Jack Grealish – 7: Went too early chasing Saka’s cross to have a goal ruled out for offside at the start of the second half. Seemed to square up to more players than he had positive moments with the ball but, like Foden, got better as the game went on.
Ollie Watkins – 4: Touched the ball 11 times. Southgate said before the game that England needed to play to his strengths rather than what they’re used to with Harry Kane, but zero shots on target before he was hooked will leave him nervous for his place at next summer’s tournament.
Phil Foden grew into the game and was England’s best player, featuring in a central position
Ollie Watkins disappointed in his opportunity and made way for Three Lions captain Harry Kane before the hour mark
Harry Kane – 6.5: Was called upon before the hour mark and caused mayhem straight away, causing the equaliser attacking Foden’s corner.
Kalvin Phillips: Was brought on for Alexander-Arnold with just minutes remaining, and probably finds himself up against the Liverpool man for a starting spot in the summer. Will need to leave Manchester City in January if he wants to get ahead.
Cole Palmer: Was unable to get involved in the few minutes he was on the pitch but Chelsea’s new star will remember this international break fondly.
Kalvin Phillips (left) was introduced late on but may now find himself behind Trent Alexander-Arnold in the England midfield pecking order
Marcus Rashford: Offered a different threat to Grealish in his brief cameo. Went close with a late free kick.
Manager – Gareth Southgate – 6.5: Rotated his side to share minutes and allow a look at more fringe players and brought Kane on early enough when trailing.
Dimitrievski 6; Manev 7, Serafimov 7, Musilu 7; Dimoski 6.5 (Ashkovski 86), Alimi 6.5 (Kostadinov 75), Atanasov 6.5 (Elezi 90), Alioski 6.5; Bardhi 7; Miovski 6.5 (Ristovski 75), Elmas 6.5.
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