Wilshere out for England with Pickford to face Netherlands


If nothing else, it shows that manager Southgate is a man willing to stick to his principles on the field as well as off it.

A friendly with Italy is next for Southgate and England, with Tuesday's encounter the last the country will contest before they must name their preliminary World Cup squad. Over two days, more than 100 England fans have been arrested but at least when it comes to the actual football it was the other country who should be the more embarrassed.

He was on message with racism, the security situation in Russian Federation and even put the Foreign Secretary in his place on the eve of the game.

Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson leads England tonight but boss Southgate has previously given Eric Dier and Harry Kane, who is now injured, the armband. There was an emphasis on pace and dynamism, with the energetic Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain a slightly surprising selection in midfield, but England also demonstrated a level of composure in possession that has often been lacking in the past.

Right-back, right-back, right-back? We were right-back to the usual pre-tournament England mixed-up thinking. The latter would eventually be replaced by Harry Maguire. Now he's mostly fit (knock on wood) and looking to make a place for himself before the World Cup - alongside the rest of the squad.

England manager Gareth Southgate had urged fans to conduct themselves in a sporting manner.

England were the brighter side in the first half and skipper Jordan Henderson flicked a header wide, with Sterling prevented from being put through by Lingard's smart ball by charging Holland goalkeeper Jeroen Zoet. "He played really well against Germany in November and it's a good chance for us to see him in another worldwide game".

That had been a masterclass in invention, creativity and finishing, the very ingredients missing from an otherwise bright and breezy performance.

Jordan Pickford, auditioning for the No.1 job, comfortably dealt with a long-range Matthijs de Ligt strike at the other end before smartly coming off his line to thwart Quincy Promes, but there was not a whole lot for the Everton goalkeeper to do. Spanish referee Jesus Gil Manzano waved play on.

Lingard opened his England account in his ninth worldwide, firing low into the corner past the despairing dive of Jeroen Zoet in the 59th minute after a cross from the left had rebounded to him off a Dutch defender.