Gareth Southgate keeps England door open for Manchester United's Wayne Rooney

Asked whether he thought this England side wouldn't hit their peak until after the World Cup in Russian Federation next year, Dier said: "I like to go on a game-by-game basis".

Former Under-21 boss Gareth Southgate was put in charge, overseeing a creditable 1-0 defeat by Germany in a friendly last Wednesday. Two other players, James Ward-Prowse (22) and Nathan Redmond (23), also did themselves no harm on their debuts, coming on in the second half and either side of Marcus Rashford, who at the age of 19 continues to look a star in the making.

But when he is not available - such as the ankle injury suffered while playing for Spurs earlier this month which ruled him out of the trip to Germany and Sunday's World Cup qualifier against Lithuania at Wembley - the alternatives simply do not measure up.

It would be unwise to get too carried away - this is England after all and Germany were uncharacteristically poor until Lukas Podolski scored with a rocket of a shot in his farewell game for the world champions. "These are the players for the one game now and we are going to try and win".

With a Gary Cahill or a Chris Smalling in between Keane and Stones, Southgate has his back three to play out from deep with.

"But Joe is the most capped member of the squad and it's a good moment for him". Instead, he insisted, the job of making new players feel welcome was a collective one.

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney and Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson, both absent from the English squad, have previously captained the side under Southgate.

"The important thing wasn't that they couldn't come - it was important that they felt part of the group". I'd love to be talking about it if we'd won, but I need to respect the fact we lost.

The 29-year-old who lost his place at Manchester City when Pep Guardiola, took over at the Etihad is now on loan at Torino and has played 28 times for the Italian club this season.

Tackling England's structural and cultural deficiencies is a grand undertaking; the man deserves a good hearing, starting with his first home game after being appointed on a permanent basis. "We will be recognising the bravery of the security services and all those involved at the match on Sunday".

"It is something I want to think through, but it is not as important to me as making sure that more develop and more are given responsibility".

England are top of World Cup qualifying group F with 10 points from four games.

"With the awful things that have happened in London we ask fans to respect that, and we as players will do our best to honour the people that passed away this week", Dier told reporters on Friday.

  • Salvatore Jensen