England had already qualified for the World Cup ahead of their 1-0 victory over Lithuania.
The Three Lions haven’t exactly been in mouth-watering form but Gareth Southgate can’t be too worried about that.
While he’s promised to do his best to make the national team a little more entertaining to watch, his main task was ensuring they got to Russia 2018 without any slip-ups.
With qualification secured against Slovenia on Thursday, the Lithuania game presented a chance for England to experiment with a few relatively untested players.
Jack Butland and Aaron Cresswell both made surprise appearances in what was still a strong starting XI.
However, the main name on the team sheet raising eyebrows was Tottenham’s Harry Winks.
The 21-year-old has featured just 26 times for Spurs since being given his big break under Mauricio Pochettino.
That’s partly because he suffered an injury that curtailed the end of last season, but he’s being introduced into the senior team gradually.
What we’ve seen of him at club level so far has been thoroughly impressive. Pochettino has referred to him as “little Iniesta” in the past, so it’s no wonder Southgate has taken the opportunity to try him out at the first opportunity.
Winks shone on debut
Why not? England’s central midfield has been a massive problem recently. With a back three, there’s no need for Southgate to be playing two defensive midfielders, as they did against Slovenia with a partnership of Eric Dier and Jordan Henderson.
England need a little more creativity, so a player like Winks is ideal. Hey, even Jack Wilshere’s name is being thrown around, so you really can’t predict how they’re going to line-up next summer.
Winks got on well. He was stringing together passes and drew a decent save from Ernestas Setkus in the second half.
There was a problem in midfield, but it wasn’t him. Henderson, on the other hand…
One player looked inexperienced, the other was playing like a seasoned international.
It’s hard to make too many judgements against – with all due respect – some of the minnows of European football. Yet, Southgate should have plenty to think about after that 90 minutes.
Should Henderson be a regular starter for England? Have your say in the comments.