With the June 13 opening game against Croatia fast approaching, Gareth Southgate’s side face their last chance saloon to force their way into their starting squad for the Three Lions’ Euro 2020 Championship.
Southgate provided a handful of fringe players against Austria on Wednesday night in Middlesbrough, as the Three Lions recorded a confidence-inspiring 1-0 win at Riverside Stadium.
Here, Sportsmail’s DOMINIC KING rates the English players who have experienced ups or downs after the Teesside win.
Friday 11 June
Saturday June 12
Sunday 13 June
Gareth Southgate glanced at his England squad for Wednesday’s win over Austria
September seems like a lifetime ago, but it’s worth revisiting the first press conference of the international season, when Southgate, rather bluntly, said the Aston Villa forward was not in his plans for games against Iceland and Denmark because his output last season was not high enough .
Look at him now. There were concerns about whether Grealish, 25, would be suitable for the tournament, but he allayed the concerns with a super performance.
He has that rare ability to generate a buzz of anticipation when he goes on the run. He is different from everyone else on the squad.
Jack Grealish proved once again that he belongs at international level with a fine performance
It has been noticeable in recent camps in England how much Gareth Southgate appreciates this shooting star and the excitement he feels for him.
The head coach has always spoken positively of him and last week it became clear that his place in the 26-man side was secure.
Southgate stands behind young talent and aims to provide an environment in which it thrives. He was never concerned about Saka’s skills or temperament, but nevertheless he would have been overjoyed by what he saw at Riverside Stadium.
The 19-year-old’s winning goal was the icing on the cake.
Bukayo Saka is another boy from England who thrives in the environment Southgate has created
The youngest player, at 17 years and 338 days, to start for England since Wayne Rooney (17 years and 321 days) in Liechtenstein in September 2003.
We keep stressing how old he is because he really shouldn’t be playing so calmly in that position.
Not long ago, the idea of him starting against Croatia seemed like a bit of a fantasy, but he suited Declan Rice well and barely wasted a pass.
Don’t be under the illusion that he is firmly in Southgate’s plans for a first team place at Wembley on Sunday week.
17-year-old Jude Bellingham will be firmly in Southgate’s plans to start against Croatia
Discipline is a quality Southgate demands from all its players. He has a vague view of anyone whose rashness jeopardizes the collective’s progress and often explains why cool heads are required in international football.
He will then be annoyed by the rough way Mings, 28, crushed Sasa Kalajdzic.
Mings has been credit to England for the past 18 months, but he needs to learn this lesson: His actions could have resulted in a red card and, most of the time, a red card in tournament football means elimination.
Tyrone Mings showed a lack of discipline that the England manager will be concerned about
28-year-old Aston Villa defender crushed Sasa Kalajdzic in an ugly incident off the ball
The Everton attacker came on in the second half and struggled to impress. There was one wave in the area, resulting in a square ball flashing over the six-yard box, but not much else.
Southgate stood by the 24-year-old, having made his debut last October, but there is a feeling he’s only just made the final cut after Ollie Watkins defeated him in the Premier League from January 1 (eight goals to five); a decent contribution against Romania will do him no harm.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin found it hard to impress when he got off the couch
This is not a criticism of the Borussia Dortmund attacker, but a frustration with the circumstances. Southgate spoke unsolicited about his disappointment that he was not included against Austria due to illness.
He looked gloomy and you could understand why. Sancho had a fantastic season in Germany, helping his side qualify for the Champions League and win the German Cup.
It is hoped that the 21-year-old can start against Romania, as it is suspected a big performance will put him in line to start against Croatia. His pace and talent are exciting.
Jadon Sancho unfortunately missed due to illness, much to Southgate’s frustration