England winners and losers: Harry Kane and Emile Smith Rowe shine but regrets for Callum Hudson-Odoi?

·3-min read
England winners and losers: Harry Kane and Emile Smith Rowe shine but regrets for Callum Hudson-Odoi?

England finished 2021 in style, confirming their place at next year’s World Cup with a 5-0 win over Albania at Wembley and the record-breaking 10-0 thrashing of San Marino.

It was a difficult camp from which to draw meaningful conclusions, with the second half against Albania and the entirety of the rout against the world’s worst international side completely without jeopardy and played at half-pace.

Nonetheless, some players will have been boosted by the break, while others will feel further from a place in the squad for Qatar next winter.

Here, Standard Sport takes a look at England’s winners and losers from this month’s games...


Harry Kane

The England captain moved to within five goals of Wayne Rooney’s all-time record by filling his boots with seven in two games.

Consecutive first-half hat-tricks leave Kane well-placed to break Rooney’s record before Qatar, and could kick-start his faltering season at club level.

He also smashed a 113-year record for England goals in a calendar year – finishing 2021 with 16.

There was a certain hollowness to his four goals against San Marino, particularly as two came from dubiously-awarded penalties, but they all count and you have to admire his relentless determination to play every minute for club and country.

Harry Maguire

His celebration against Albania was a little misguided, but Maguire nonetheless left his wretched club form behind to score in consecutive England games, becoming his country’s highest-scoring centre-half – with seven.

This week was another reminder that whatever Maguire’s struggles for Manchester United, Southgate’s faith in him is unlikely to be shaken.

Emile Smith Rowe

A Wembley debut and a goal on his first start made it a memorable few days for the Arsenal man after his late call-up from the Under-21s.

If he maintains his form for Arsenal, Smith Rowe should be firmly in the frame for further senior call-ups in the New Year, adding to England’s wealth of quality in the playmaker role.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Conor Gallagher

Like Smith Rowe, a late call-up from the U21s, making his debut against San Marino.

He could have had six months at parent club Chelsea by the time of the World Cup, but the struggles of Ross Barkley and Ruben Loftus-Cheek may serve as a warning.


Callum Hudson-Odoi

The Chelsea forward may also have been promoted to the seniors had he accepted an U21 call-up.

Southgate stopped short of criticising Hudson-Odoi’s decision to turn down a place in Lee Carsley’s squad but it may have already counted against him, and you wonder if it could have an impact in future given the fierce competition for places.

Sam Johnstone

The West Brom goalkeeper was Jordan Pickford’s understudy until Monday, when Aaron Ramsdale was handed his debut in San Marino.

Given Ramsdale’s form for Arsenal, it may be tough for Johnstone to force his way back to No2. A return to the Premier League next season would surely help.

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

Kieran Trippier

Trippier was left out of the squad and, given the competition from Reece James, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Kyle Walker, he may find it a tough ask to return.

That said, Alexander-Arnold did not entirely convince in a subdued first half against San Marino, even if he finished the game with two assists.

James Ward-Prowse

The emergence of Smith Rowe and Conor Gallagher leaves the Southampton man even further from the squad.

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