England strolled to victory against the Republic of Ireland in their friendly international at Wembley.
Manager Gareth Southgate gave his undercard a chance as he kept England’s main players back for the Uefa Nations League match in Belgium on Sunday – but they still had far too much for an outclassed Republic side.
Jude Bellingham, brought on as a substitute for his debut in the second half, became England’s third-youngest full international at 17 years and 137 days.
And Manchester United goalkeeper Dean Henderson also won his first senior cap as a half-time replacement for Burnley’s Nick Pope.
Harry Maguire, given the captain’s armband, erased some of the misery of his last England appearance – when he was sent off in the Nations League home defeat by Denmark – by heading in Harry Winks’ cross after 18 minutes.
Jadon Sancho doubled England’s advantage before the break and their total control was emphasised when Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored emphatically from the penalty spot in the 56th minute after Bukayo Saka was fouled by Cyrus Christie. It sealed England’s first win against the Republic since 1985.
Grealish runs the show
All judgement of England must be placed in the context of a mediocre Republic of Ireland performance, but this was still a very impressive night for Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish.
The 25-year-old, who actually played for the Republic’s Under-21 side before switching allegiance to England, has been the subject of much debate with many wondering why Southgate has not used his mercurial talents more regularly.
Here, given a roving role, Grealish was in confident mood as he relished possession and was one of England’s main creative forces before being substituted and getting a warm embrace from his manager after a fine display.
It remains to be seen whether Grealish has done enough to figure more prominently in Southgate’s thoughts for the key clash in Belgium but there is no doubt he made another big impression, albeit in a game that occasionally resembled a practice session.
Better night for Maguire
Maguire cut a disconsolate figure on his last Wembley appearance for England, capping a 31-minute horror show against Denmark with a second yellow card.
That night, he looked for all the world like someone who needed to be taken out of the team – after the on-field setback of being in the Manchester United defence that had conceded six goals at home to Tottenham and the off-field trauma of his well-publicised court case in Greece.
Here manager Southgate demonstrated his huge faith in Maguire by making him captain – and the centre-back had such a comfortable night that he was able to set aside any minor defensive duties to score one goal and have opportunities for more.
It will provide the perfect morale booster for the stern test in Belgium.
England’s second string saw plenty of good things from Calvert-Lewin, while Henderson made one smart save in his 45-minute debut performance,
It was hard to make any serious judgements in such a low-key friendly but Southgate will be pleased England were able to show such domination for almost the entire game.
‘We were set up to play football’
England manager Gareth Southgate told BBC Radio 5 Live: “We were really pleased. We had a good bedrock with the back three who were our most experienced players in the team.
“We were not as strong physically in midfield as we might normally be but we played with intelligence.
“Jack Grealish was very good. He’s in really good form and he’s playing in the areas we want him to play, not coming too deep, and he’s affecting the game in the final third.
“We wanted to give Jude Bellingham 20 minutes or so to give him a feel of it. He was nervous at the start, it’s a huge occasion to come with the team at his age and be as mature as he has been with us.
“You saw as it developed he settled and got into the game. That’s the experience we wanted to give him.”
Player of the match
with an average of 8.26
Squad number11Player nameGrealish
Squad number6Player nameMings
Squad number9Player nameCalvert-Lewin
Squad number10Player nameSancho
Squad number2Player nameJames
Squad number3Player nameSaka
Squad number1Player namePope
Squad number7Player nameMount
Squad number4Player nameKeane
Squad number13Player nameHenderson
Squad number5Player nameMaguire
Squad number17Player nameBellingham
Squad number8Player nameWinks
Squad number15Player nameAbraham
Squad number16Player nameMaitland-Niles
Squad number18Player nameFoden
Republic of Ireland
Squad number6Player nameHourihane
Squad number2Player nameDoherty
Squad number21Player nameCurtis
Squad number20Player nameO’Shea
Squad number13Player nameHendrick
Squad number17Player nameHorgan
Squad number9Player nameIdah
Squad number15Player nameO’Dowda
Squad number7Player nameBrowne
Squad number23Player nameRandolph
Squad number22Player nameMolumby
Squad number4Player nameDuffy
Squad number5Player nameEgan
Squad number14Player nameLong
Squad number10Player nameBrady
Squad number12Player nameChristie
Squad number11Player nameMcClean
Republic goal drought goes on – the stats
- England earned their first win over the Republic of Ireland since March 1985, ending a run of seven matches without victory against them.
- The Republic are without a goal in their past five matches in all competitions, their longest run without scoring since another run of five between November 1995 and May 1996.
- Harry Maguire became the 33rd different Manchester United player to score for the England men’s team – no club has provided more different goalscorers for the Three Lions (Tottenham, though, have also provided 33).
- Jack Grealish has provided assists in back-to-back games for England – he’s had a hand in 12 goals in 11 appearances in all competitions for club and country this season (five goals, seven assists).
- Jadon Sancho became the first player to score for England at Wembley while playing for a non-English club side since Steve McManaman against Luxembourg in September 1999.
- Each of England’s past four converted penalties have been scored by different players (Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Marcus Rashford and Dominic Calvert-Lewin), the longest such streak of different penalty scorers since a run involving Terry McDermott, Kevin Keegan, Phil Neal, Bryan Robson and Gary Lineker between 1980 and 1990 (excluding shootouts).
- 1PopeSubstituted forHendersonat 45′minutes
- 6MingsSubstituted forMaitland-Nilesat 61′minutes
- 7MountSubstituted forBellinghamat 73′minutes
- 9Calvert-LewinSubstituted forAbrahamat 63′minutes
- 11GrealishSubstituted forFodenat 61′minutes
R. of Ireland
- 12ChristieSubstituted forLongat 61′minutes
- 5EganSubstituted forO’Sheaat 14′minutes
- 6HourihaneSubstituted forMolumbyat 71′minutes
- 17HorganSubstituted forBradyat 60′minutes
- 15O’DowdaSubstituted forMcCleanat 61′minutes
- 9IdahSubstituted forCurtisat 71′minutes
- Carlos del Cerro Grande
Match ends, England 3, Republic of Ireland 0.
Second Half ends, England 3, Republic of Ireland 0.
Foul by Tammy Abraham (England).
Matt Doherty (Republic of Ireland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt missed. Shane Duffy (Republic of Ireland) header from the centre of the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by James McClean with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Republic of Ireland. Conceded by Reece James.
Offside, England. Bukayo Saka tries a through ball, but Phil Foden is caught offside.
Attempt missed. Harry Maguire (England) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Reece James with a cross following a corner.
Corner, England. Conceded by Kevin Long.
Attempt saved. Ronan Curtis (Republic of Ireland) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner.
Hand ball by Bukayo Saka (England).
Foul by Jude Bellingham (England).
Jeff Hendrick (Republic of Ireland) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Phil Foden (England) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Alan Browne (Republic of Ireland).
Substitution, England. Jude Bellingham replaces Mason Mount.
Harry Winks (England) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Dara O’Shea (Republic of Ireland).
Corner, Republic of Ireland. Conceded by Reece James.
Attempt saved. Alan Browne (Republic of Ireland) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Robbie Brady.
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