Gareth Southgate’s side were relegated to Tier B of the Nations League after losing in Milan, extending their winless streak to five matches.
England faced the humiliation of relegation on Friday night after a 1-0 loss to Italy consigned Gareth Southgate’s squad to the second division of the Nations League.
Giacomo Raspadori scored a superb goal in the 68th minute to condemn the Three Lions to another loss. As a result, England will begin the next Nations League season in Tier B.
Ivan Toney was unexpectedly left out of England’s 23-man squad for Friday’s match after receiving his first international call-up. While Harry Kane’s position as England’s primary striker is secure, this week’s doubleheader provided the ideal opportunity to determine whether or not Toney is capable of filling in for the Three Lions’ No. 9. Instead, he will only have one game to make his mark.
As a result of Luke Shaw’s dismal start to the season with Manchester United, the left-wing defender position appears to be up for grabs. However, Arsenal’s right winger Bukayo Saka was deployed ahead of Shaw and Ben Chilwell, who had appeared to be the most likely replacement for Shaw in Italy.
Saka, who was named England’s Player of the Year previous to the game, undoubtedly deserves more than to be pigeonholed into an unsuitable position. England requires his tricks and quality in the final third of the field, not in the defensive third.
Southgate was always likely to continue with Harry Maguire despite his struggles at Manchester United. Maguire did little to silence his detractors during international duty, and it is now plainly evident that the troubled centre-back should not be anywhere near the England squad when the World Cup begins in Qatar in two months.
Maguire, before the game, had enthusiastic support from the traveling England fans. But he failed to inspire confidence on the left side of England’s back three.
In the opening five minutes at the San Siro, he lost sight of Gianluca Scamacca and then Giovanni Di Lorenzo. Although he regained his composure as the match progressed, he was overshadowed by Eric Dier, who may have surpassed his England colleague after a stellar performance at the San Siro.
On a somewhat dismal evening for England, the efforts of Phil Foden and Jude Bellingham should inspire optimism for the future. Foden is a crucial piece in the Manchester City club that has dominated the Premier League, but he has struggled to secure a regular berth on the national team, whereas Bellingham’s exploits in Germany with Borussia Dortmund have made him nearly hard to overlook.
On the basis of their performances in Milan, it is difficult to see why neither player should be in Southgate’s thoughts for the November international opener against Iran.
Foden was active and England’s most dangerous player on the night, while Bellingham demonstrated why he is the ideal partner for Declan Rice with Kalvin Phillips’s position in jeopardy.
England have gone over 450 minutes without scoring in open play and are now facing relegation – hardly ideal preparation for the World Cup.