Which England players impressed and which struggled in the Premier League’s opening weekend? We take a look a look at some of the best and worst performers as Gareth Southgate keeps tabs on his options for England’s UEFA Nations League games next month.
Three who impressed
Luke Shaw was the pick of the England performers in Manchester United’s 2-1 win over Leicester on Friday night. The left-back, who has endured a difficult time under Jose Mourinho and lost is place in Southgate’s squad, capped an eye-catching display with the first competitive goal of his senior career. His international manager was in the crowd to see it.
Trent Alexander-Arnold may have only recently returned from World Cup duty but the youngster was straight into Jurgen Klopp’s starting line-up in their 4-0 win over West Ham. He produced an impressive performance, forcing a fine save from Lukasz Fabianski with one free kick, impressing with his delivery and making more tackles (four) than any of his team-mates.
Another of England’s World Cup semi-finalists to start on the opening weekend was Tottenham’s Dele Alli. The 22-year-old was arguably Mauricio Pochettino’s best player in their 2-1 win over Newcastle at St James’ Park, scoring what turned out to be the decisive goal with a trademark run and header from Serge Aurier’s cross.
Three who struggled
Harry Kane’s August drought continued at St James’ Park. Pochettino defended the striker’s performance, saying it doesn’t matter whether he scores or not, but he looked short of his best against Rafael Benitez’s side. Kane has now gone 14 Premier League games in August without scoring.
Jack Wilshere was handed his West Ham debut against Liverpool but it is not on occasion he will remember fondly. The former Arsenal midfielder was by no means their worst performer, but he was overrun by Naby Keita and co as Jurgen Klopp’s side ran riot at Anfield. Southgate will need to see more from him if he is to work his way back into his squad.
Jordan Pickford was one of the stars of England’s World Cup campaign, making a string of fine saves over the course of the tournament and stopping a crucial penalty in the shootout against Colombia, but he came in for criticism in Everton’s 2-2 draw with Wolves. Could he have done better with Ruben Neves’ free kick?
Others who caught the eye
Shaw was not the only England hopeful to impress at Old Trafford, with Leicester’s James Maddison and Demarai Gray both catching the eye. Maddison was only denied a debut goal by David de Gea’s acrobatics, while his England U21 team-mate Gray had the beating of Matteo Darmian as he racked up five successful dribbles.
Kyle Walker returned to his natural right-back berth in Manchester City’s 2-0 win over Arsenal having played in an unfamiliar centre-back role for England at the World Cup, and showed why it’s his best position. His pace and power was too much for Arsenal in the first half and he was defensively assured throughout.
Ross Barkley did not pull up any trees in Chelsea’s 3-0 win over Huddersfield, but Southgate will be pleased to see him getting game-time having fallen so badly out of favour under Antonio Conte.
Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge is another player hoping to work his way back into England contention. The striker only got three minutes from the bench against West Ham, but scored with his very first touch to wrap up the win.
Comment below to get involved in the debate, but please adhere to our House Rules. If you wish to report any comment, simply click on the down arrow next to the offending comment and click ‘Report’.