England vs Slovakia: Winners & losers as the Three Lions edge closer to Russia

The international break is over for England until next month. RealSport look at the winners and losers from this past week.


WINNERS

  1. 1 Marcus Rashford


    The Manchester United star proved once again how special he is and could be.

    Despite his teenage years, Rashford showed the maturity and mental strength that will determine how far he goes in the game.

    Having made the mistake that led to Slovakia opening the scoring in the third minute, most teenagers would crawl into their shell.

    However, Rashford puffed his chest out and took responsibility, coming up with the winner in the second half with a fine strike.

    His quality and potential are not in question, with two goals and an assist over the international break, whilst his mentality shouldn't be under any doubt either.

  2. 2 Adam Lallana


    Adam Lallana is a winner this weekend, despite not even having to kick a ball as the nation realised just how important he is to the Three Lions' chances in Russia next summer.

    England lack creativity without the Liverpool playmaker, who is quickly proving himself to be his national side's most important player.

    In past articles, I've previously alluded to the fact that Gareth Southgate could have done more to offset the loss of Lallana's industry. However, England are a much better outfit with the silky, technical star in the side.

  3. 3 Nathaniel Chalobah


    The Watford man might not have played a single minute, but his simple inclusion is a moment he should be proud of, hence his personal victory this weekend.

    Chalobah has bided his time for a chance, making over 100 appearances for England's youth sides.

    He has been patient and plied his trade on loan before finally deciding to leave the riches of Chelsea for more first-team opportunities at Watford, which is commendable given the relative comfort of the Blues.

    Chalobah has proven that, sometimes, it is better to take the step down to improve the quality of your career. One step back, two steps forward.

LOSERS

  1. 1 John Stones


    This was thought to be the season where John Stones finally matures into a trustworthy and reliable defender.

    However, Southgate opted to play both Gary Cahill and Phil Jones in the two qualifiers ahead of the Manchester City centre-back.

    His quality and potential aren't in question, but it's clear that Stones is someone who is yet to gain the full trust of his national team manager.

    Pep Guardiola dropping him for the game against Bournemouth prior to the international break also proved telling.

  2. 2 Dele Alli


    It wasn't the best of international breaks for Dele Alli. He has now failed to score in his last seven appearances for England and cut a frustrated figure against both Malta and Slovakia.

    In fairness, this was largely down to his teammates and Southgate's set up. 

    Alli's greatest skill is arguably his off the ball movement, yet despite his constant movement to find pockets of space, he was rarely found.

    England looked a far better outfit in the second half when Alli was utilised more, though a rude gesture, which he claims was aimed at teammate Kyle Walker, could land the Tottenham Hotspur midfielder in trouble and marred his performances.

  3. 3 Wembley


    It was confirmed by the commentary team last night frequently that England had the highest average home support for the World Cup qualifiers out of any country on the planet.

    However, there were rows and rows of empty seats at Wembley last night which led to a flat and tepid atmosphere.

    Not only that but far too many seats go to the corporate businesses and sponsors. With the camera angle facing towards this section, it certainly made for abject viewing.

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Harry Brooks

27

Harry graduated from UAL in Elephant and Castle with a 2:1 BA Hons degree in sports journalism.

He has an NCTJ diploma and also coaches football and teaches PE in schools.

Harry loves to talk football tactics!

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