Thursday 15 November 2018 10:20 pm

England 3-0 USA: Five things we learned as Wayne Rooney’s final match ends in convincing Wembley win


Sport and Business Reporter at City AM. Email: michael.searles@cityam.com

Sport and Business Reporter at City AM. Email: michael.searles@cityam.com

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The night was billed as Wayne Rooney’s big send-off, but the Wembley crowd couldn’t help but be drawn in by Jadon Sancho.

The 18-year-old winger was unfazed by making his first start for England in the national stadium as the Three Lions cruised to a 3-0 victory over the USA.

Sancho showcased exactly why Gareth Southgate had fast-tracked him to the first team without playing a minute for the Under-21 side as he caused havoc for the US defence down both flanks with his pace and trickery.

The Borussia Dortmund man provided the assist for Trent Alexander-Arnold’s first England goal in the 27th minute and his confidence on the ball was more than apparent as he looked to go forward every time he picked up the ball.

It seems that gone are the days of England passing the ball sideways for lengthy spells with the exciting Sancho in the side.

Rooney’s reception

England’s all-time top-scorer received a rousing reception as he entered the field of play in the 58th minute – even if it was not quite the sentimental 53rd minute change that had been suggested to pay homage to his 53 international goals.

Wembley erupted as he replaced goal-scorer Jesse Lingard and the US fans also showed their appreciation for the 33-year-old.

Every time he touched the ball a huge cheer filled the stadium and a supporter who got onto the pitch even entered the fray to exchange words with Rooney on his final ever appearance.

Excitement rose every time Rooney engineered himself into a shooting position, and despite the will of all the fans and cries for him to shoot, he couldn’t find the net and a dream goal with some late chances.


Wilson’s woes averted

Callum Wilson must have thought he had blown his chance after he missed three clear-cut opportunities to score on his England debut.

Thankfully it was fourth time lucky for the 26-year-old as he managed to rifle the ball beyond Brad Guzan on the volley, toe-poking the ball into the ground and in off the post, just moments before being replaced by Marcus Rashford.

The Bournemouth striker earned his debut after a great start to the season, scoring seven goals in 13 appearances for his club, but squandered a couple of one-on-ones and had a penalty shout turned down by the referee in the first-half when he appeared to leave his leg hanging.

But the forward worked hard, chasing down every ball and finally got his reward in the 77th minute.

Alli back to his best

Dele Alli was at the centre of everything England did during the 60 minutes he was on the pitch. The midfielder has missed almost half of Tottenham’s games this season due to injury but looked to be firing all cylinders on a familiar pitch.

He played behind the front three and drove the team forward, linking up with Sancho and providing the assist for Lingard’s goal, although he’ll struggle to take too much credit for it after a sensational strike from the Manchester United man.

The US defence were unable to contain Alli and resorted to bringing him down on three separate occasions during the first half.

Tottenham fans will be excited to see one of their key men back fit and back to his best.

Pickford proves point

It may have only been a friendly and farewell match but Jordan Pickford was not going to let any other goalkeeper have a sniff at his No1 jersey. He proved once again why he holds the shirt after coming to the fore to save England’s blushes during the first half.

The USA offered little in terms of attacking threat for the majority of the match, but did manage to catch England on the counter-attack on a handful of occasions.

Another Dortmund starlet lined up opposite Sancho in Christian Pulisic, who was in truth the only bright spark for the USA. The 21-year-old pulled all the strings and found himself one-on-one with Pickford midway through the first-half.

But the Everton shot-stopper stood strong and made a great save to send England on their way to a clean sheet and ensure no else could take his No1 spot.

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