England

England 5-0 Albania: Player ratings as Three Lions all but secure World Cup qualification

By Sean Walsh
England were ruthless
England were ruthless / Clive Rose/GettyImages
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England need just a point from their trip to San Marino next week to qualify for the 2022 World Cup after smashing Albania 5-0 at Wembley.

Gareth Southgate's side sit three points clear of Poland but with a superior goal difference heading into the last round of qualifiers, and even the most shocking of defeats might still see the Three Lions book a place in Qatar next winter.

Albania's aggressive start to the game was punished when Reece James' free-kick was met by the head of Harry Maguire, and the Man Utd captain powered England into the lead.

Phil Foden had a great chance to make it two almost immediately from kick-off, but his effort went high and wide.

Kyle Walker's loose back pass put Myrto Uzuni through with Jordan Pickford, but the Everton goalkeeper stood tall and denied him from close range.

England doubled their lead after 18 minutes when James, Phil Foden and Jordan Henderson linked up when in the right channel, and the Liverpool captain's cross was tapped in by Harry Kane.

The Three Lions had a third when Henderson roamed forward from midfield to link up neatly with Kane and grab a goal of his own, before the England skipper secured his brace with an emphatic finish from a tight angle.

And Kane grabbed a hat trick with an outrageous scissor kick from Phil Foden's corner as England went into half time five to the good.

The Spurs striker had half an opening just after the break but couldn't keep his effort down, while James had a great chance to score a goal of his own when he was put through by Jude Bellingham, but skewed his shot.

Emile Smith Rowe made his senior England debut in the latter stages as Southgate's side strolled to an emphatic win at in front of a sell-out Wembley crowd.


1. Goalkeeper & defenders

Harry Maguire
Maguire opened the scoring / Clive Rose/GettyImages

Jordan Pickford (GK) - 7/10 - Important save early on to keep the score at 1-0.

Kyle Walker (CB) - 4/10 - Very awkward first half that nearly allowed Albania back into the game.

John Stones (CB) - 5/10 - Wasn't as bad as Walker, but didn't have much to do.

Harry Maguire (CB) - 7/10 - Superbly taken goal. Looks much more comfortable in a back three.

2. Midfielders

FBL-WC-2022-EUR-QUALIFIER-ENG-ALB
James was unstoppable at times / GLYN KIRK/GettyImages

Reece James (RM) - 9/10 - What a machine. Flawless game down the right flank, and has certainly helped his chances of starting in Qatar.

Kalvin Phillips (CM) - 7/10 - Kept it ticking. Wasn't spectacular but didn't need to be.

Jordan Henderson (CM) - 9/10 - Back to his best after a rocky start to the season at club level.

Ben Chilwell (LM) - 6/10 - See: Phillips.

3. Forwards

Harry Kane
Kane was lethal / Clive Rose/GettyImages

Phil Foden (RW) - 8/10 - One of those performances where sure, he was amazing, but you felt he could have taken it up a few notches if he needed to.

Harry Kane (CF) - 10/10 - Left foot, right foot, header - the perfect hat trick.

Raheem Sterling (LW) - 9/10 - A pain in Albania's backside all evening, they just couldn't find a way to contain him.

4. Substitutes

Emile Smith Rowe, Klaus Gjasula
Smith Rowe made his debut / Clive Rose/GettyImages

Tammy Abraham (CF) - 6/10 - Lead the line with pace and pressure.

Jude Bellingham (CM) - 6/10 - Was keen to be involved.

Jack Grealish (LW) - 5/10 - Had some low crosses blocked but couldn't find a way through.

Trent Alexander-Arnold (RM) - 5/10 - Didn't have much to do and had a tough job living up to James' performance.

Emile Smith Rowe (RW) - 5/10 - Eager to get on the ball, but was sometimes guilty of overrunning things. Not that it matters too much, mind.

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