England’s win over Romania wasn’t the only action at the Riverside on Sunday, as players who played in the Champions League final took part in a fierce attack versus defense session after the game.
Gareth Southgate’s men took a narrow 1-0 victory in their final warm-up game before taking on Croatia in the Euro 2020 opener the following Sunday.
But the main event probably took place when the terraces became empty, in the form of an intense training session with his Champions League finalists at Riverside Stadium after the game.
Friday 11 June
Saturday June 12
Sunday 13 June
Chelsea and Manchester City players had a kick-over after England’s friendly win
Chelsea and Manchester City players arrived late for the Champions League final
Raheem Sterling is one of England’s more experienced players heading into Euro 2020
John Stones is one of the players from both sides hoping to start in the opener next week
After the final whistle, Southgate No. 2 Steve Holland ruled the stars of Chelsea and Manchester City’s Champions League final as they had an intense session just a week after competing for club football’s biggest prize.
They were also joined by Manchester United goalkeeper Dean Henderson, as well as Ollie Watkins, Conor Coady and Jordan Pickford.
They played in half of the pitch while a lawnmower went across the grass on the other side of the Riverside, where England’s win over Austria took place on Wednesday.
Their post-game training included some shuttle runs and some short side games with an attack on the defense.
Champions League winner Ben Chilwell scored a screamer on the diagonal past Jordan Pickford, while teammate Mason Mount impressed.
Raheem Sterling looked lively in the session after what was a disappointing second half for him based on his form. However, he is one of England’s most experienced players – with 61 caps – and will play a key role in Southgate’s line-up.
Ben Chilwell (L) scored a screamer during the session while Phil Foden also looked lively
Newly crowned PFA Young Player of the Year Phil Foden also looked energetic, with the Manchester City youngster one of many attacking players vying to start next week’s opening game.
Foden’s club teammate John Stones was also there, and with lingering fears over Harry Maguire’s condition, Stones’ availability as a central defender will be vital for the Three Lions.
Reece James’s importance to England has also increased in recent days with right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold banned from the tournament due to injury.
Sterling struggled for form but also looked lively during an intense session on Sunday
The session was overseen by the Netherlands while Gareth Southgate went through his media duties and was with those playing Sunday night except Watkins.
England have not had the ideal warm-up week for the European Championship, with stars from Chelsea, City and Man United arriving later than others due to their appearance in the Champions League and Europa League finals.
In the game against Romania, Marcus Rashford returned to the line-up, scoring from the penalty spot in the second half, when the Manchester United man was handed the captain’s armband for his country for the first time.
England did get a chance to double their lead when Henderson played through Dominic Calvert-Lewin who made a mistake in the penalty area.
Reece James’ role has become more important since Trent Alexander-Arnold got injured
Calvert-Lewin was expected to take the penalty, but the Everton striker allowed the Liverpool captain to take it on his return to the England squad.
Henderson was determined to score his first goal for his country, but his attempt was tamely and comfortably parried by Romanian goalkeeper Florin Nita.
The midfielder’s elimination in the second half, however, will have given Southgate some sort of relief as he tries to prove his ability to impress in this summer’s tournament.
England has a number of selection dilemmas including the fitness of Harry Maguire (right)
Henderson hadn’t played for club or country since Liverpool’s Merseyside Derby defeat to Everton on February 20.
The Liverpool midfielder isn’t Southgate’s only selection dilemma, with the hugely important defender Harry Maguire yet to come back from the injury he sustained at Manchester United at the end of the season.
Maguire’s entry into the tournament is under some doubt, and his absence could force Southgate to switch from playing a 4-3-3 system to playing five in the back.
Southgate also has yet to choose his replacement for the injured Trent Alexander-Arnold.
James Ward-Prowse is one of many backups looking to replace Trent Alexander-Arnold
James Ward-Prowse, Ben Godfrey and Ben White all started against Romania, while Jesse Lingard and Ollie Watkins are also hoping for a last minute call-up to the 26-man roster
Southgate must make an important decision about who should start in the front positions besides Kane.
Jack Grealish and Rashford impressed against Romania, while Sterling, Foden, Mount and Jadon Sancho will all battle to take the starting position as well.