1) England can enjoy reading the bottom line
A win is a win is a win, especially after three straight defeats. Understrength England were not discouraged by their scruffy first period and improved sufficiently to scrounge a victory and keep a clean sheet against a team that scored six goals in their last outing. And Marcus Rashford produced a crisp finish to plunder his second goal in two starts. Those facts can only improve morale and make for better reading in the history books.
2) Butland will be kicking himself
When the Football Association’s Twitter account revealed the lineups, Jordan Pickford seemed to have been attributed the power of bilocation, as he was listed both as a starter and a substitute. The mistake was quickly rectified but the actual starter, Jack Butland, also got off to a goofy start, tapping the ball into the path of Mario Gavranovic early on. Maybe he was nervous knowing that his distribution would be examined especially closely given that it is one of the reasons why Gareth Southgate prefers Pickford; and maybe the Stoke man’s confidence has suffered from a start to the season in which he has conceded 11 goals in six league matches, following on from a season in which his team conceded the joint-highest number in the Premier League. Whatever, the shaky start did not enhance Butland’s claim for his country’s No 1 jersey. But at least he did not hide and continued trying to show his ability with his feet. In the 74th minute he made a good sortie from his box to sweep up as Albian Ajeti threatened to collect a pass over the top of England’s defence.
3) Rose confirmed England’s strength on the left
With his first touch of the match Danny Rose donked the ball straight out of play as Fabian Delph looked on in bewilderment. But the Tottenham player explained his intentions and three minutes later, in a similar position, Rose exchanged a nifty one-two with Delph before racing down the wing and delivering a dangerous cross. From then he stood out as England’s most useful attacker from open play, so his performance was an excellent reaction to Luke Shaw’s good game against Spain. England have strong options at left wing-back and, although the Leicester crowd hollered their approval when Ben Chilwell was introduced, the youngster has a lot to do to get ahead of Rose and Shaw.
4) Dier must do better
The Tottenham player wore the armband on the occasion of his 35th cap but he convinced neither as a captain nor as a midfielder, especially in the first half. As the anchor of a central midfield trio in which the other two members, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Delph, were making their first starts of the season, Dier might have been expected to take the initiative and help his team adapt to the fact that Switzerland regularly outnumbered them in midfield because of Xherdan Shaqiri’s canny movement. But Dier did not get to grips with that in a first period in which he was bypassed, serving neither as an effective sentinel in front of the defence nor as a useful conduit of attacks. He improved in the second half – by being more dynamic and vocal, for starters – but he still looks too limited a player to have a long-term future in the England squad unless he adds a lot more to his game.
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5) England’s fringe players need more first-team action
Three of England’s starters at Leicester – Delph, Loftus-Cheek and Danny Welbeck – had not started a match for their clubs this season and it showed. None of them played particularly badly but nor did they do themselves justice. Their attitudes were commendable and their intentions always noble but they did not quite have the sharpness to make the impact that they hinted at. It is not right that a player as talented and young as Loftus-Cheek should look rusty when given opportunities like this. He will not keep getting them if he is not in a state to take them. If he does not start to play more regularly for Chelsea, he needs to move.