Who were England's standout performers against Senegal?

Kyle Picknell
We've picked out four players in particular who shone during England's 3-0 win over Senegal
We've picked out four players in particular who shone during England's 3-0 win over Senegal / Sebastian Frej/MB Media/GettyImages

It's not...is it? It might be. France await in the quarter-finals on Saturday but England should be full of confidence after their performance against Senegal.

The first half an hour was shaky. Gareth Southgate's side began the game rather tentatively and were perhaps fortunate not to be a goal down after some slack defending from Harry Maguire and then some carelessness in possession from Bukayo Saka.

Senegal, however, couldn't take their chances which allowed England to show them just how ruthless tournament football can be. From the moment Jude Bellingham sauntered up the pitch and his midfield partner Jordan Henderson tucked home the opening goal it was all over - there was only one team playing after that.

In stark contrast to many England teams down the years, this one is spirited, resilient and, above all, hungry. Give them an inch and they take a mile. Kylian Mbappe and company will pose a far greater test than the Senegalese, missing their own superstar in Sadio Mane, but one that England have every chance of overcoming given their displays at the World Cup so far (USA aside).

Here are the best performers from England's 3-0 win over Senegal.

Jordan Pickford

Jordan Pickford
Pickford always steps up for England / Dan Mullan/GettyImages

There was a moment in the first half when England looked as though they would go behind - only for Jordan Pickford to pull off an outstanding save to help turn the tide. It came after Boulaye Dia was picked out by Ismaila Sarr and found himself through at a tight angle. John Stones got back to pressure but Dia still managed to fire a shot hard across the face of goal.

With England hearts in their mouths, Pickford stuck out a meaty left paw to beat it away. No dice. Not today. Dia...get it?

Looking back, it's an incredible save as Dia's shot bobbled up off the ground and would have been extremely difficult to read. The drive came at the Everton goalkeeper hard and at an awkward height but he dealt with the chance superbly. It is on such moments that games can turn and soon after England took the lead.

Others will get the headlines, but Pickford's contribution should not be forgotten - he's as consistent a performer as they come between the sticks for England.

Jude Bellingham

Jude Bellingham
Bellingham has been one of the stars of the World Cup so far / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

Credit to Jordan Henderson for making the run and finishing off the move but England's first goal of the night was all Jude Bellingham. In fact, so too was the second as he robbed a sloppy Pathe Ciss in possession and surged up the pitch, gliding past Senegalese defenders like they weren't there.

The thing with Bellingham is that he's such an intelligent player, even at only 19 years of age. In both instances, he used his outstanding anticipation (amplified by physical attributes you simply should not possess as a teenager) to read the play before anyone else and find space.

He then also had the awareness and weight of pass to cut back for Henderson to tap in or find Phil Foden perfectly in stride off his left foot - Foden didn't need to slow down or alter his body position one bit, allowing him to then put Harry Kane one-vs-one with his first touch.

Bellingham makes it look so, so easy. It's the proverbial men against boys flipped on its head. This is a guy who isn't 20 until June dominating in World Cup games. It's absurd.

Make no mistake about it, we're looking at one of the very best central midfielders in the world right now. It is now frightening to imagine Bellingham even five years further down the line.

Phil Foden

Phil Foden
Foden has started the last two games for England and impressed in both / Alex Livesey - Danehouse/GettyImages

Let's be clear, the clamour for Phil Foden to be included in the starting line-up for England was completely justified. We have seen exactly why over the past two games.

Against Senegal, Foden played a decisive role in all three England goals, showcasing the fact that he can do things on the ball most other players in this squad can only dream of. It is his daring touchline backheel that feeds Harry Kane who in turn set Bellingham away for the first.

He unselfishly tees up Kane with a first-time pass for the second. For the third, he pounces on a loose ball, hurdles the challenge of Real Betis fullback Youssouf Sabaly and puts a low cross on a plate for Bukayo Saka.

Balance, poise and control. Foden is a breath of fresh air in the England midfield and if his inclusion means Gareth Southgate having to play Henderson as a 6 to offer greater defensive stability then that is a trade-off almost every England fan will take.

Harry Kane

Harry Kane
Kane scored his first goal of the tournament against Senegal / Clive Brunskill/GettyImages

Harry Kane has got his goal, which is a relief if only because we now no longer have to talk about Harry Kane not getting his goal or listen to Gary Lineker and Alan Shearer talk about Harry Kane not getting his goal.

He finished it as Kane always does, head down and laces through the ball, giving Edouard Mendy no chance to save the shot even if he had attempted to actually dive in its general direction.

But it was Kane's hold-up play, constant movement into deep positions and inventive passing that really set his performance apart. It's often a criticism that Kane isn't always in the six-yard box to finish chances or get on the end of crosses, but having him find pockets of space in which to turn and feed either Foden, Bellingham or Bukayo Saka running beyond is a far better use of his talents.

Kane is more than just a poacher, he's a 9 and 10 rolled into one. Given how Robert Lewandowski performed at this World Cup - isolated, anonymous, barely able to convert a penalty - England should be forever grateful Kane's all-round game is as refined as it is.