England secured a memorable victory when they beat Spain in the Nations League in Seville on Monday night.
Raheem Sterling scored twice, coupled with Marcus Rashford's strike, to put England 3-0 up at half-time before Paco Alcacer and Sergio Ramos netted what proved to be consolations for the home side.
Below are five things we learned from the thrilling encounter.
1. Marcus Rashford Can Be the Clinical Supporting Forward England Need
There were plenty of people grabbing their canes and sprawling out of their armchairs on Friday after Marcus Rashford’s performance against Croatia, and with good reason.
He missed two pretty simple chances, essentially costing the Three Lions a victory, but he put those wrinkled demons to bed on Monday with a brilliantly composed finish.
He’s still got a lot of improving to do, but Rashford’s movement off the ball and calmness in front of goal against Spain suggests he can share the goalscoring burden with Harry Kane.
2. Ben Chilwell Is Easily One of England’s Best Left Backs
Sure, the Leicester defender got his chance thanks to injuries to Luke Shaw and Danny Rose, but can anyone say Chilwell put a foot wrong during the two games he played in the aforementioned pair’s absence?
Calm on the ball, positionally aware and sharp in the tackle, Chilwell was everything England needed during the international break, especially against Spain where he was composed in a game which could have affected a young player.
Rose is the senior left back around England’s squad, while Shaw has been tipped to hold down the position for as long as he wants it, but Chilwell has proven against Croatia and Spain that he’s no schmuck and can make the step up to international level with little fuss.
3. Spain Are Still Defensively Suspect
Sergio Ramos had most boxes ticked on Monday night: he scored a header, ‘tripped’ over Raheem Sterling while the Manchester City forward was on the ground, and was up for a melee when he was clattered by Eric Dier early on.
The only problem with Ramos’ performance was that, on the whole, he defended pretty shockingly. And that’s putting it softly, too.
Gerard Pique’s retirement has left a hole in Spain’s defence, a defence that was looking rather shaky long before the Barcelona man’s exit, but it’s a problem Luis Enrique needs to fix, and quickly.
4. Paco Alcacer Is the Player to Fix Spain’s Striker Problem
There’s not much more Paco Alcacer can do to convince Enrique that he’s the right player to start consistently for La Furia.
The striker has been in red hot form for Borussia Dortmund this season, scored twice against Wales last week and coming off the bench to net with one of his first touches against England.
With Alvaro Morata struggling to fulfil his undoubted potential and question marks hanging over Iago Aspas and Rodrigo’s clinical edge in front of goal, Alcacer should be one of the first names on Enrique’s team sheet when international games come around again in November.
5. Raheem Sterling Is Still England’s Best Young Player By a Distance
Forget James Maddison, Mason Mount, even Jadon Sancho: Raheem Sterling is where it’s at.
His goal record at international level is admittedly pretty bad, but Sterling showed on Monday that he can be the difference maker for Gareth Southgate’s side, and even more promisingly showed he can link up expertly with Harry Kane, something that was lacking during the World Cup.
Raheem Sterling is still only 23-years-old. Raheem Sterling has already won a Premier League title with Manchester City and could easily win another this season. Raheem Sterling was an unsung hero for England at the World Cup. Put simply, Raheem Sterling doesn’t get the credit he deserves. If people still doubt his ability, they should rewatch his performance on Monday. Or just his first goal. What. A. Finish.