England: Defence a real concern, Declan Rice needs stronger support and Ivan Toney's big chance

 (The FA via Getty Images)
(The FA via Getty Images)

Seventeen-year-old forward Endrick scored his first Brazil goal to condemn England to a 1-0 friendly defeat at Wembley.

The Real Madrid-bound teenager tapped into an empty net after Vinicus Junior's shot was saved, as Gareth Southgate's toothless side failed to get going in their penultimate game before the manager names his squad before the European Championship.

Here are three talking points from the match...

Lack of defensive cover costs England

It was occasionally an uncomfortable evening for Harry Maguire in the heart of England's defence, and the Manchester United defender was lucky not to cost England a first-half goal when he was caught in possession by Rodrygo, who dragged his shot wide.

But it was Maguire's 75th-minute replacement, Lewis Dunk, who ultimately made the mistake leading to Brazil's winner, his loose header conceding possession before Vinicius Junior raced behind John Stones.


Marc Guehi, who is injured, should be first change at centre-half for the Euros but Dunk's costly cameo underlined why Southgate has remained so loyal to Maguire; England simply do not have the same depth at centre-half as they do in other areas.

The same is arguably true at left-back, where Ben Chilwell was rusty on his first England appearance since September, while England's short-term crisis at right-back deepened when Kyle Walker was forced off injured after 20 minutes, with Ezri Konsa coming on for his debut.

Southgate is facing using a patched-up back four against Belgium on Tuesday and though the bigger picture should improve before the summer, the lack of pressure on Maguire and Stones remains an issue for England.

Gallagher an uncomfortable fit for midfield role

Conor Gallagher was given an opportunity to make his case as England's third man in midfield, starting next to Declan Rice in a double-pivot behind Jude Bellingham.

Gallagher got up and down the pitch impressively in the first half, his tenacity occasionally unsettling Brazil.

Three times in the first 21 minutes, he won dangerous free-kicks in the same area of the right channel and he created England's best chance of the first 45 minutes with a neat flick into Ollie Watkins, whose effort flew over the bar.

But going the other way, Gallagher was far less effective. Two of Brazil's best chances of the first half - a Rodrygo shot and a Vinicius Junior effort which was stopped on the line by Walker - both came after the Chelsea man was dribbled past.

 (Mike Egerton/PA Wire)
(Mike Egerton/PA Wire)

And with Gallagher in the side, Declan Rice was far more restrained than he is for Arsenal and effectively sat in front of the back four while Gallagher and Bellingham pushed on.

Gallagher faded after the interval and was occasionally loose with and without the ball and it was a surprise it took Southgate until the 75th minute to introduce Kobee Mainoo. The Manchester United midfielder was calm and showed glimpses of real quality.

Gallagher is likely to make the Euros squad but his performance here underscored why Southgate will surely want a more defensive-minded player next to Rice.

Gordon catches the eye but Watkins frustrated

With Harry Kane and Bukayo Saka missing through, Anthony Gordon made his full debut on the left wing and Ollie Watkins had a chance to cement his place as the captain's understudy with another start at centre-forward.

Gordon was not outstanding but did his chances of making the cut for Germany no harm with a lively display. Twice in the first half he stepped inside on his right foot and curled a shot towards goal, and later he nearly broke the deadlock by ghosting onto a free-kick at the far post.

 (The FA via Getty Images)
(The FA via Getty Images)

With Marcus Rashford, who replaced Gordon in the 75th minute, and the injured Jack Grealish both struggling for form this season, Gordon will hope to be able to build on an encouraging debut against the Belgians.

For Watkins, however, it was another frustrating run out. The Aston Villa forward held the ball up well and put in a couple of dangerous crosses but his only glimpse of goal was sent flying over the bar, albeit after some good defending.

With Kane ruled out to face Belgium back at Wembley, Ivan Toney may get his chance to impress next week and a big performance from the Brentford man could force Watkins down the pecking order.