The thing about friendlies: England and Germany experimented with their starting XIs, to varying extents, for a 0-0 game with very little actual significance. It’s the sort of thing that usually annoys many fans, but it’s worth remembering exactly what friendlies are at this level. Competitive games are about results. These exhibitions are about learning lessons in time for said competitive games. It’s unfortunate for the fans who pay good money to watch these dress rehearsals, so to speak, but you cannot say they don’t go in with their eyes open. And in fairness, there have been far worse games than that one.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek shines: Being at Crystal Palace Football Club can’t be much fun, but RLC to his credit is thus far turning 2017-18 into a bit of a breakout year. He looked very good in his senior debut, not to mention nowhere near out of his depth on a pitch containing a ton of promising talent. The below little piece of skill in particular was a joy to watch.
Promise for Pickford, more concern for Hart: Jack Butland’s recent broken finger meant Jordan Pickford started between the sticks at Wembley and his string of saves had social media singing his praises. His big-money move to Everton hasn’t led to much good news so far, given the club’s plight, but tonight was Jordan’s night. Meanwhile, Joe Hart is at further risk of slipping down the pecking order with not one but two hungry keepers getting the job done and giving Gareth Southgate even more reason not to stick with the West Ham man.
A year for Gareth Southgate, zero questions answered: The 30th of this month will mark the one-year anniversary of when Southgate pretty much fell into the England job, having served a couple months already as caretaker following the Sam Allardyce scandal. Even one year in, there’s very little to say. Many are adamant he will fail when it matters most. History dictates that they will be right – and that’s not just a knock on Southgate but also the national system as a whole. And yet, we’ll all have to wait until Russia before we can pass truly objective judgment on Gareth Southgate: England manager.
The kids are alright: Finishing on a positive note, even a pretty nondescript 0-0 result is worth 90 minutes of our time when it involves watching the likes of Loftus-Cheek, Pickford, Tammy Abraham, Joe Gomez, Harry Maguire, John Stones, Jesse Lingard Marcus Rashford, Leroy Sane, Timo Werner, Joshua Kimmich and Julian Brandt continue their senior international journeys. Sure, many would have taken a 4-4 draw between two sides comprised entirely of thirtysomethings, but there is very little negativity about witnessing the next generation in the midst of their growth as players.