England player ratings vs Iran: Bukayo Saka, Jude Bellingham prove their class; Harry Maguire answers critics

England player ratings vs Iran: Bukayo Saka, Jude Bellingham prove their class; Harry Maguire answers critics

England blew Iran away in a 6-2 demolition in their opening World Cup match in Qatar.

Jude BellinghamBukayo Saka and Raheem Sterling put England 3-0 up in the first half before Saka, Marcus Rashford and Jack Grealish got in on the act after the break.

Nizaar Kinsella was at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha to assess the England players...

Jordan Pickford 5

Barely did anything in the first half but was almost caught in possession early in the second half and could possibly have saved Taremi’s consolation goal for Iran.

Kieran Trippier 6

Produced a wonderful cross inside three minutes with his first attacking action but was quieter than many of his colleagues. It was still an accomplished display.

Harry Maguire 8

Under arguably more pressure than anyone else in the team, Maguire answered his critics with a solid display. Should have won a penalty after being brought down in the box in the third minute. His aerial presence led to Saka’s goal, though Taremi slipped behind him to make it 4-. Came off with a head injury in the second half .

John Stones 6

Not as aggressive in the final third as his centre-back partner but didn’t put a foot wrong in possession. He stood by and let his wrecking ball partner wreak havoc.

Luke Shaw 7

A real bright spark down the left and his clipped ball was perfect allowing Bellingham to open the scoring. He was also involved in Saka’s first goal, crossing it into the box at a corner.

Jude Bellingham 8

The 19-year-old became the first teenager to start a World Cup match for England since 2014 and the third youngest to start in the competition for his country. His rash challenge gave away a free-kick in a dangerous area on 22 minutes in a nervy-looking opening. But his class told when he surged into the box to meet Shaw’s cross with a perfect cushioned and looping header.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Declan Rice 7

An incredibly tidy deep pivot who hardly puts a foot wrong defensively or in possession.

Mason Mount 8

The 23-year-old hit the side netting when he should have hit the target in the 29th minute. Like Bellingham, he proved the tactical difference by arriving into the box against Iran’s low block.

Bukayo Saka 9

The Arsenal forward produced a moment of perfect technique for his goal, getting over the ball to volley in Maguire’s knockdown. After being racially abused missing a penalty in the final moment of England’s last tournament, he scored a rocket on his first World Cup appearance. His second goal saw him dancing in the box, faking shots until he picked his moment to score and make it 4-0.

Harry Kane 8

England’s captain and striker made a key pass in the eighth minute for Maguire but got his assist to cross for Sterling’s goal. Their partnership is something comparable to the one he has with Heung-min Son for Tottenham. His brilliant first touch and through ball led to Rashford’s goal from the bench.

Raheem Sterling 8

Produced a cheeky nutmeg after a quality attack by England in the 31st minute. He looked confident and full of smiles ahead of kick-off and justified his selection despite the fan clamour for Phil Foden. His outstanding flying volley saw him connect to the ball with his studs to make it 3-0. In its low-key way, every bit as good as the other goals.


Eric Dier 6

Solid after replacing Maguire.

Jack Grealish 7

Scored the sixth to complete a rout.

Phil Foden 6

Marcus Rashford 8

The Manchester United forward scored with his first touch, faking his shot and slotting in on his weaker left foot immediately after coming on. He didn’t look the least bit rusty, scoring with his first touches after coming on.

Callum Wilson 7

Set up the sixth for Grealish after coming on.

Unused substitutes: Pope, Ramsdale; Walker, Coady, White, Alexander-Arnold; Henderson, Phillips, Gallagher.