England enjoy Dutch friendly success
- Author: Leroy Wright Mar 26, 2018,
Mar 26, 2018, 23:41
While Southgate's side could take heart from November's goalless draws against Germany and Brazil, with narrow wins over Slovenia (1-0, via a last-minute Harry Kane goal) and Lithuania (1-0, via a Kane penalty) preceding those fixtures, it is fair to argue England's attacking play has been far from thrilling.
The Manchester United midfielder struck the only goal of the friendly win against Holland.
Gareth Southgate chose to deploy a rather unexpected trio in midfield with Jordan Henderson playing anchorman and Oxlade-Chamberlain and Lingard playing off of him.
Southgate cited a host of racist comments left on social media targeting several black players featuring in an England under-16 side as an example that a lot more still needs to be done to confront the problem in England. "It felt like the other World Cups that I have been to in terms of the experience within the stadiums and the atmosphere for the games".
Jesse Lingard's second-half goal - his first for his country - sealed the victory.
Walker's galloping incision of old may have been missed down the right, where Kieran Trippier was not at his marauding best, but he still looked comfortable in a back three, just as Southgate envisaged he would.
Southgate will happily pounce on added goalscoring options and attacking versatility as he looks for players of all purposes to name in his squad for Russian Federation.
Kane may still be on course to claim the armband - but Southgate clearly has no worries about Henderson's ability to deal with the job of leading England. This was by no means a flawless performance, but Southgate will have been pleased by what he saw in terms of his side's approach play.
Southgate's men now head back to London for a clash with the Azzurri at Wembley on Tuesday, but who will start for them?
"Jordan Pickford was also excellent".
Joe Hart is not the immovable object he once was, given the 75-cap goalkeeper's struggles for game-time and form, with some even questioning his inclusion for the friendlies against Holland and Italy.
Southgate's plea for fans to behave fell on deaf ears with news of 90 arrests in Amsterdam city centre filtering through during a game that started with the boorish element of the 5,253 travelling fans booing the Dutch national anthem.
The first chance fell to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who fired a shot right at goalkeeper Jeroen Zoet, while Lingard went wide with his effort, although replays confirmed it took a deflection.