That quartet’s chances of being in Roy Hodgson’s squad for the World Cup now look shaky after their rivals all shone against Denmark.
Cole didn’t do anything wrong in his 45 minutes but Luke Shaw just looked like the future; international class and completely comfortable.
He also linked up well with Southampton team-mate Adam Lallana – one of several encouraging partnerships between club colleagues.
Raheem Sterling even more. He was excellent: lively from start to finish and made good decisions. Jordan Henderson doesn’t always catch the eye but allied composure with his industry, the highlight a feed-through for Danny Welbeck.
Up front, Sturridge was increasingly dangerous, especially when one against one. When he got on, Welbeck looked hungry and powerful.
The worries I have are the form of Wayne Rooney, who is playing within himself, and Jack Wilshere, who looks to be trying too hard to impress.
Trevor Steven is a former England international footballer. He now works as a media commentator.