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How England Debutants Performed Against Germany

 • by Sam McGuire
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A youthful England side impressed against Germany at Wembley. The home side were without an array of first-team players with Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Jordan Henderson all ruled out but a lack of experience did them no harm as the young guns stepped up to the plate.

The old rivals played out a scoreless draw. It may not have been one for the neutral but it was an entertaining match with two ‘keepers in fine form between the sticks

Jordan Pickford, Joe Gomez, Jack Cork, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Tammy Abraham all had the opportunity to make their debuts, with three of them starting from the off while Gomez and Cork had to settle for a place on the bench.

Though it was only a friendly, an impressive performance against the World Champions could’ve push them up the pecking order and possibly get them a seat on the plane to Russia.

With this in mind we’ve taken a look at how the England debutants performed against Germany.

Jordan Pickford – Everton

Why was he called up?

It’s been a long time coming for Pickford. The 23-year-old impressed for Sunderland last season but couldn’t save them from relegation. His fine form was noted and he was linked with moves to the top six in England. Everton stumped up the money, parting with £30million to secure his signature ahead of Arsenal.

Thrust into a new look Toffees backline, life on Merseyside hasn’t started off as the Washington-born shot stopper would have liked. However, he has still managed to single-handedly keep Everton in matches this season and his call-up is warranted.

Though a start is fortunate, with Jack Butland breaking his finger in training, not many would have complained had he started ahead of the Stoke ‘keeper.

How did he do?

He kept England in the game with a number of fine stops as Hart watched on from the bench. As debuts go it was arguably a dream one as he denied the in-form Timo Werner on two occasions. His distribution caught the eye and he had a big impact on England playing it out from the back.

Will he be on the plane to Russia?

It very much depends on his form between the sticks at Goodison Park but you would imagine so. The No.1 jersey for England is very much up for grabs with Joe Hart failing to impress for West Ham United, Fraser Forster having a season to forget and Tom Heaton currently injured. It could end up being a straight fight between Butland and Pickford to start in Russia if they continue to impress.

Joseph Gomez – Liverpool

Why was he called up?

Gomez’s inclusion may come as a surprise to himself as well as fans who haven’t watched Liverpool this season but his call-up is justified. The Reds defender has been in fine form for Jurgen Klopp’s side, barring the hiccup against West Ham last weekend which saw Manuel Lanzini prod the ball past Simon Mignolet.

He’s been operating at right-back but Klopp has tweaked the system recently to more of a back three when the Reds are in possession, and Gomez has been a right centre-back. It gives Southgate some tactical flexibility. The England manager has played a back four and a back three at times and the 20-year-old can play in both systems.

How did he do?

He started the match on the bench but replaced the injured Phil Jones after 25 minutes and just 20 minutes later he was in the book. He didn’t let this have a negative impact on his game though though he did look a little nervy at times in the second half as part of the back three.

Will he be on the plane to Russia?

This very much depends on how Southgate intends to line-up. Gomez isn’t a modern day full-back by any stretch of the imagination and lacks a lot going forward. If he went as an understudy to Kyle Walker in a back four then England’s style would change dramatically if the Manchester City man picked up an injury. He hasn’t played enough as a centre-back to warrant a place in the squad on that alone, either.

However, if Southgate is in two minds about what system to use then Gomez could be considered to be a wildcard inclusion. His versatility gives him an advantage over others and he fits the bill if England are looking to play out from the back using a back three.

Jack CorkBurnley

Why was he called up?

Injuries to Jordan Henderson, Harry Winks and Dele Alli have played a part in the Clarets man getting his first call-up, but that doesn’t make Corks’s call-up any less impressive. The 28-year-old is enjoying arguably the best form of his career under Sean Dyche, and has played a key role in Burnley’s early-season success.

He joined the Clarets in the summer and has played every minute of their Premier League matches so far this season. He grabbed an assist against Chelsea in a 3-2 win and did a solid job in draws against Liverpool and Spurs. He adds a calmness to the England midfield which is often said to be lacking.

How did he do?

Unfortunately the Burnley man didn’t get a lot of time to impress. He came on in the 86th minute to replace Jake Livermore.

Will he be on the plane to Russia?

It’s a long-shot as things stand but a mixture of good form on his part and injuries to others could see him sneak onto the plane. It’s in Southgate’s best interests to pick players who are in-form if he’s to have a chance of getting to the latter stages of the the World Cup. Coming off a fine season with Burnley, Cork could be a shrewd inclusion.

Ruben Loftus-CheekCrystal Palace

Why was he called up?

Loftus-Cheek has really caught the eye since the loan move to Selhurst Park. Crystal Palace might be struggling at the foot of the Premier League but the 21-year-old is continually catching the eye whenever he’s given the opportunity. Even without a number of injuries to the midfield, Loftus-Cheek’s form deserved to be recognised and he probably would’ve been in Southgate’s squad.

He regularly impressed for the England u21 side as they went toe to toe with some of the top international sides at youth level.

How did he do?

The best England player on the pitch. You wouldn’t have known it was his debut, there was a swagger to his performance. He looked right at home in the middle third for the Three Lions and even started to boss the opposition at one stage, pulling off a number of nut megs to the delight of the home crowd.

Deservedly awarded the Man-of-the-Match award. Won’t be the last time he pulls on the England jersey.

Will he be on the plane to Russia?

Matches between the top teams on the international stage can be tight at times. An explosive midfielder with the ability to drive a team forward can be the difference maker and ultimately a match winner. Loftus-Cheek offers that and then some. If his early-season form lasts the entirety of the season then there’s no reason he shouldn’t be part of Southgate’s plans.

Tammy AbrahamSwansea City

Why was he called up?

Of all the English players in the Premier League, only Kane, Raheem Sterling and Jamie Vardy have scored more goals than Abraham. Even if Kane and Sterling weren’t ruled out with injuries, the Swansea striker’s inclusion would’ve been deserved.

The 20-year-old was the Championship’s breakout star last season, finishing the season as joint-second top scorer on 23 goals during his loan spell with Bristol City. Since joining Swansea on loan he’s scored four goals and grabbed an assist. The Swans may be in 19th position in the Premier League but they’d be bottom were it not for Abraham.

How did he do?

He lasted the hour before he was replaced by Marcus Rashford. He didn’t do badly but at the same time he did nothing to really stake a claim in Southgate’s squad aside from a few bits of link up play with the midfield. Hard to judge but he deserves another shot leading the line.

Will he be on the plane to Russia?

It’s extremely doubtful. England have an array of quality forward players and it’s unlikely Abraham can do enough playing for a struggling team to push them out of Southgate’s plans. It would take an extraordinary run of form on his part coupled with injuries and bad patches of form to others for him to even be considered.

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