England ensured they top their Euro 2020 group with a narrow victory over Czech Republic on Tuesday evening. Raheem Sterling was the matchwinner, notching in the first half after some good work from Jack Grealish. Express Sport will now take a look at five positives and two negatives from the showdown at Wembley.
Positive: Jack Grealish turns up
Before England’s match, many had been clamouring to see Grealish unleashed from the start.
And Southgate gave supporters their wish, with the Aston Villa star sparkling on the night and providing the assist for Sterling’s winner.
It was a good performance from the 25-year-old, who had previously managed six goals and 10 assists for Aston Villa in the Premier League last term.
He was taken off in the closing stages of the match, likely to ensure he’s fully fit and firing for the next round of the competition.
And he’d have certainly given Southgate much to ponder, especially after previously being benched for matches against Croatia and Scotland.
Positive: Harry Kane looked sharp
Harry Kane went into the match against Czech Republic with a point to prove.
After drab showings against Croatia and Scotland, many wanted to see the Tottenham star take the match by the scruff of the neck.
But while Kane didn’t find the net, the Tottenham star looked a potent threat throughout.
This was his most menacing display of the tournament so far and, with the knockout stages nearly upon us, that bodes well.
Kane had done pretty much all his business at this stage of the World Cup three years ago and, this time, things could be the other way round.
Negative: Still no goal though…
The one negative when it comes to Kane, however, was that he failed to score.
While that’s not necessarily a big deal, it is worth noting that many of the tournament’s best players have already announced themselves.
Cristiano Ronaldo has three goals for Portugal, Antoine Griezmann was on target for France against Hungary, Memphis Depay is looking a threat with the Netherlands while Germany recently saw Kai Havertz notch a brace.
Then there’s Romelu Lukaku and Ciro Immobile, who are sparkling for Belgium and Italy.
Kane needs to join that crowd if England are to go all the way this summer.
Positive: Another clean sheet
England haven’t always been defensively sound, despite the many quality players they’ve had at their disposal over the years.
But that looks set to be the foundations for Southgate’s side to build his empire.
England are yet to concede a goal at Euro 2020 so far, keeping a clean sheet in all three of their matches.
While their attack does need some improvement, it’s promising that Southgate’s team have been looking solid.
That makes them hard to beat and boosts their chances of claiming the prize, especially given how well a defensive style worked for Portugal at Euro 2016 five years ago.
Positive: Bukayo Saka looks electric
Jadon Sancho must have thought he was in with a chance of starting against Czech Republic, especially after Southgate confirmed he was ‘in the mix’ to feature.
But the Three Lions decided to take a risk by unleashing Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka from the very start.
It was a decision that was vindicated, too, with Saka looking devastating as he regularly used his pace to surge forward.
Given how Phil Foden has struggled to make an impact in his two matches so far, the Arsenal star looks ready to step up as an alternative.
And whether Southgate sticks, rather than twists, for the next match remains to be seen.
Negative: Gareth Southgate has Jadon Sancho doubts
While it was certainly a positive night for England, the same can’t be said for Jadon Sancho.
Closing in on a move to Manchester United, the Borussia Dortmund star was again benched from the off against their opponents.
And it wasn’t until less than 10 minutes left on the clock that Southgate finally deemed Sancho ready to be deployed, giving the 21-year-old his first taste of the tournament so far.
This doesn’t appear to be his stage given Southgate’s reluctance to start him.
And Sancho can be forgiven for already looking ahead to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar given how far down his manager’s pecking order he is at present.