September 23, 2021

England player ratings: Grealish and Mount shine

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England produced a dominant display to see off the Republic of Ireland 3-0 at Wembley on Thursday evening. First-half goals from Harry Maguire and Jadon Sancho set Gareth Southgate’s side on their way before Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s penalty sealed it.

Southgate named a team that included a number of fringe players and many of them will have earned more trust from their manager after this. Here’s our verdict on the England team…

Nick Pope – 6

The Burnley goalkeeper was given the opportunity to play 45 minutes and earn another international cap. He had very little to do but was assertive enough with the two crosses that came into his penalty box – punching one away and claiming the other impressively. Did not have much chance to disprove the notion that kicking is a weakness.

Reece James – 7

Suspended for the Nations League, James was given a run out here instead and oozed class at wing-back. His passing range was apparent early on and he got forward well on the overlap but there was also a fine block inside his own box. There are options on the right but James’ flexibility – he moved into the back three in the second half – is particularly useful.

Michael Keane – 7

England’s centre-backs had some work to do in the opening stages as Ireland looked able to cause problems down the flanks. Keane, on the right of the back three, had the most problems, getting rolled by his man from a throw-in at one point. Some slightly unconvincing distribution at times too but certainly played his part in the clean sheet.

Harry Maguire – 7

After being sent off in the defeat to Denmark last time out, Maguire’s Nations League suspension presented him with the chance to captain England for the first time and he marked the occasion with a goal. The first-half header, his second goal for his country, set the team on their way to victory and Maguire was assured thereafter.

Harry Maguire was on target for England in the victory over Republic of Ireland
Image: Harry Maguire’s goal for England opened the scoring at Wembley

Tyrone Mings – 7

Having made a strong start to the season with Aston Villa, this was another chance to cement that left-sided position in England’s back three and Mings did well. He had the first chance of the game and did well to clear when Ireland threatened at the other end. Even hit the side-netting with a long-range shot before being substituted on the hour mark.

Bukayo Saka – 8

Operating in that wing-back role on the left, this was an intelligent showing from the Arsenal man. His use of the ball was reliable, his runs forward frequent and his willingness to move inside provided variety. Forced a good save early on and went close after the break but his key moment came when his driving run won the penalty for England’s third goal.

Image: Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Bukayo Saka were among those who impressed

Harry Winks – 7

The demands on England’s midfield two were tough given that they were outnumbered in there but Winks managed to find space, providing the assist for the opening goal with a lofted ball towards the back post. He also won the ball back for the second goal in what was one of his better performances in an England shirt. Reputation certainly enhanced.

Mason Mount – 9

The manager’s backing of Mount has done him few favours with a public eager to see others given a chance but this display showed why that criticism has been so unfair. Brought energy and quality to that deeper role in midfield, winning the ball back and rushing forward to join attacks. It adds so much to this system and there were some good set pieces too.

Jadon Sancho – 8

The Dortmund winger has faced question marks over his fitness this season and his standing had fallen slightly as a result but his goal here is a reminder of his quality. After struggling for space on the right, he switched to the left and slotted home a lovely goal to double England’s lead. There was another shot blocked after that. A strong performance.

Image: Jadon Sancho produced a fine finish to double England’s advantage

Dominic Calvert-Lewin – 7

The selection of Calvert-Lewin was an indication that he has edged ahead of his rivals as Harry Kane’s deputy and he underlined that here. There was a notable moment in the first half when he dispossessed Shane Duffy inside his own box to win a corner but there was also a blocked shot and countless channel runs before his confidently-struck penalty made it three.

Jack Grealish – 9

Grealish’s inclusion had been a major talking point and he more than justified his selection, providing the assist for the second goal and creating many more chances before and after. The Villa captain drifted around, looked comfortable in possession and was involved in some promising combination play with several of his team-mates. The work rate was there too. Class.

Jack Grealish and Jadon Sancho celebrate England's second goal
Image: Jack Grealish looked his confident self throughout a strong outing


Dean Henderson – 6

England debut for the Manchester United goalkeeper. A special moment but he will have had busier evenings. Barely had a touch before saving well with his feet after 72 minutes.

Phil Foden – 7

Back in the England squad and swiftly given a taste of the action as a replacement for Grealish on the left side of the forward line. Some typically nice touches around the box.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles – 6

Came on at right wing-back with England completely dominant so most of his work was inside the Ireland half. Misplaced one cross when in a good position but was a good outlet.

Tammy Abraham – 6

A nice situation to come into for any centre-forward with England chasing more goals and Abraham went close when the ball would not quite fall for him just a few yards out.

Jude Bellingham – 6

Became the third-youngest player ever to represent England when he came on after 73 minutes. The 17-year-old Borussia Dortmund midfielder slotted in nicely.

What’s next?

England are back in UEFA Nations League action away to Belgium on Saturday November 15 at 7.45pm live on Sky Sports Premier League and Sky Sports Main Event, before hosting Iceland on November 18.