England’s 2-0 win over Lithuania might not have been the most flattering scoreline, but there were plenty of positives to take from the game.
In defence, Kyle Walker and Ryan Bertrand bombed up and down the flanks to great effect, while Michael Keane and John Stones were solid at centre-back.
As for midfield, Eric Dier was typically composed and Adam Lallana and Deli Alli dominated in the middle of the park with their creativity and energy.
And in attack, Jermain Defoe marked his return to the England set up with his first international goal for over four years.
All in all a good result which meant the Three Lions maintained their place at the top of Group F in World Cup qualifying.
Speaking after the game, Gareth Southgate explained that while getting all three points was most important, there were still areas that needed improving.
“We were a little slow and didn’t run behind them enough until Marcus [Rashford] and Jamie [Vardy] came on,” he said.
“I think today we needed to move the ball a bit quicker, more runs in behind, we have individuals who will play better than they did today.”
England are in the midst of a rebuilding process and it will undoubtedly take time for Southgate’s new-look side to gel.
But it looks promising. England played some decent football against Germany and Lithuania, suggesting Southgate is steering them in the right kind of direction.
Perhaps he’s been taking notes from Rio Ferdinand who, back in 2015, made a spot on prediction about the England national team.
In the tweet below, posted on July 18, 2015, Ferdinand named Stones, Keane and Dier as England’s best three young centre-backs and future internationals.
And, sure enough, they all started against Lithuania. Incredible.
We bet this guy feels pretty silly right now for claiming Arsenal loanee Calum Chambers is better than Dier and Keane…
Keane was 22-years-old when Ferdinand predicted he would be a future England international and he’s since thoroughly impressed for Burnley.
The centre-back moved to Turf Moor from Manchester United in 2015 and, two years on, he’s now on Chelsea’s radar. That’s some rise.