England maintained their 100% winning record in qualifying for the 2020 European Championships with a 5-3 victory over Kosovo; however, how did the individual players fare?
Rating scale: 10 – world-class display; 9- outstanding; 8- very good; 7 – good; 6 – decent; 5 – average; 4 – below average; 3 – poor; 2 – very poor; 1 – awful
Jordan Pickford – 5
Could not be blamed too much for Kosovo’s early opener. Was quick off his line but the blame was laid at the feet of Ross Barkley and Michael Keane. With the majority of the action taking place up-field, Pickford’s first half was fairly relaxed. Early in the second half, Pickford had to pick the ball out his net as he was unable to stop a curling shot by Muriqu from going in. The Everton shot-stopper got two hands against Muriqi’s hat-trick goal, from the penalty spot, but was unable to deny it going over the line.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 7
Untested during the first half. Enjoyed a few attacking runs forward here and there, making the attacking trio more narrow and overloading the Kosovo defence. Controlled Harry Kane’s diagonal pass well when making an attacking run forward, beat his marker and forced Muric into making a good save.
Michael Keane – 6
Was his hurried pass, received from Barkley, that allowed Verdat Muriqi to slide Valon Berisha through-on-goal for the opening goal after 36 seconds. He made amends for his mistake seven minutes later though. Heading across a deep corner from the right side, the ball fell to Raheem Sterling who levelled the score from three yards.
Harry Maguire – 6
Could only watch as his partner in central defence committed the error for Kosovo’s only goal of the evening. Relatively untested throughout the first half. Was unable to clear at the first attempt of an attack early in the second half and ended up tripping Muriqi to give the visitors a penalty, which they scored to make it 5-3.
Ben Chilwell – 7
Pushing forward from the natural left-back position. Chilwell’s towering header won the ball against a Kosovo winger, allowing Sterling to push forward and create England’s fifth goal just before half-time.
Declan Rice – 6
Had a near faultless first half but cheaply gave possession to Kosovo in the second half, leading to the visitors’ second goal as Rice was caught out of position.
Jordan Henderson – 6
Used his body to get between the ball and a Kosovo midfielder in order to win possession. After doing so, his threaded pass wide to Sterling allowed England to break forward and create their fourth goal.
Jadon Sancho – 8
Used his pace as a dangerous threat out on the right continually. Occupying a wide right position allowed Sterling to fill his preferred role in left-wing. Produced the third goal when unaware that a Kosovo player was down injured, his cross was struck across the Kosovo goal-line by visiting defender Mergim Vojvoda. The Borussia Dortmund winger scored his second from close range late in the second half. Came off after 84 minutes with Marcus Rashford coming on.
Ross Barkley – 7
Primary perpetrator for Kosovo’s opening goal. Receiving the ball from Harry Maguire, Barkley’s hurried pass to Keane enforced the error and allowed Berisha to shoot past Pickford. Produced an intelligent individual run to draw a foul from Amir Rrahmani for a penalty, Harry Kane missed the resulting spot-kick. Was substituted for Mason Mount after 83 minutes.
Raheem Sterling – 9
Goalscorer once, goal producer twice. The Manchester City winger occupied his preferred position on the left of an attacking trio and regularly used his agility and pace to create chances. Sterling shifted away from his marker to level the scores before executing a clever turn to send Harry Kane through-on-goal a few moments later. Moved onto the right-wing after Marcus Rashford was brought on.
Harry Kane – 7
Had a fairly successful evening at St Mary’s. Produced a tidy finish under Arijanet Muric from a tight angle to put England ahead for the first time. Had a weak shot saved from the penalty spot after Barkley was fouled. Teed up Sterling late on but the winger had his effort pushed onto the post.
Mason Mount (Substitute) – 6
Introduced to the game with just under seven minutes left. After an encouraging performance at Wembley against Bulgaria, the Chelsea midfielder looked composed in the centre of the park alongside Rice and Henderson with England comfortably ahead.
Marcus Rashford (Substitute) – 6
Brought on in place of Jadon Sancho with six minutes left, pushed Sterling onto the right as he took a left-sided approach. Came close to making an immediate impact when he was released by Mount, his powerful strike was saved by Muric.