England’s XI last time they played Germany away shows how far they've come

England XI

England travel to Germany tonight for a crucial UEFA Nations League clash with their age-old rivals.

The last clash of these two footballing titans came on that historic Wembley afternoon in 2021 as the Three Lions sent Germany crashing out of the European Championships at the round-of-16 stage.

Goals from Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane late in the second stanza were enough to see England through as they continued their charge towards the final.

Unfortunately, as we all know, it would end in heartache for Gareth Southgate’s side with Italy pipping them to the post in a dramatic penalty shootout.

Now, the pair will rekindle old flames at the Allianz Arena with England yet to get off the mark in Group C following an opening game defeat to Hungary.

Despite that stumble at the first hurdle, England will be more than confident of getting the job done in Germany.

However, the mere fact that England might even consider storming a German fortress and coming out with a win shows just how far they’ve come in the last few years.

And, if you need any more reminding, you need look no further than England’s starting XI the last time they took on the Germans in their own backyard.

While it might have been nothing more than a friendly, that 2017 starting XI makes for almost bizarre viewing in the light of the current, exciting side.

You can check out the full XI in the graphic below:

Well then – quite a group.

Now we are by no means saying that this lot aren’t immensely talented footballers, but that’s not exactly a side that you would consider betting your house on.

A defence of Gary Cahill, Chris Smalling and Michael Keane behind a midfield pivot of Eric Dier and Jake Livermore was never going to fill any opposition with any kind of dread.

Kyle Walker, who started out on the right, is the only surviving member of the side who is still being picked today while Ryan Bertrand on the left has long since seen his England days grind to a halt.

DORTMUND, GERMANY – MARCH 22: Adam Lallana of England (L) is put under pressure from Toni Kroos of Germany (R) during the international friendly match between Germany and England at Signal Iduna Park on March 22, 2017 in Dortmund, Germany. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

It doesn’t exactly get any better up front with Dele Alli and Adam Lallana forming an attacking triumvirate with Jamie Vardy, who, arguably, would’ve been the biggest threat on the night.

Fast forward five years and England will be looking to field the likes of Harry Kane, Mason Mount, Phil Foden, Bukayo Saka, Raheem Sterling, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips, to name but a few.

There is also the rising star that is Jude Bellingham who will need to to slot in somewhere.

It might have only been five years ago, but the massive evolution of the England team just goes to show that five years can be a very long time in football.

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