England player ratings: Foden improved, midfield doubts linger


England have topped Group C after a goalless draw with Slovenia – ranked 57th in the world – who also sealed progression as the pool’s third-placed side.

Here, Sky Sports rates the England players from their final group match in Cologne…

Jordan Pickford – 6

Only had one save to make. Can be assured of being busier as the tournament progresses, but swept up well enough.

Kyle Walker – 6

Plays the role of covering defender, utilising his electric pace, really well – which was needed in the opening exchanges. Got more to give going forwards, and will undoubtedly be tested with greater frequency in the knockout phase.

John Stones – 6

John Stones urges his England team-mates to maintain composure
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John Stones urges his England team-mates to maintain composure

England have only conceded 1.13 xGA all tournament. Still waiting for the ‘step out of defence Stones’ we see playing for Manchester City in the Premier League to materialise. Perhaps he’s under instruction to be cautious but there’s more to offer, surely? A calming voice, nonetheless.

Graphic

Marc Guehi – 7

Solid. Questions were asked of his positional intelligence a few times in the first half and he passed the test with flying colours – front-footed too. Any signs of a flap on his major tournament debut? Not yet, albeit he did pick up a yellow card following a rare mix-up with Stones.

Kieran Tripper – 6

Got booked for an early foul and was caught upfield on a few occasions. Much brighter on the ball, teasing a particularly good cross from the left towards Kane first half, and linked productively with Foden in moments.

Declan Rice – 6

Declan Rice relays a message to his England team-mates
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Declan Rice was joined by his third midfield partner of the tournament – and no combination has particularly inspired

Fluency in midfield remains a problem, and dare we say it, Rice is missing his mate. No one is suggesting Kalvin Phillips was in any condition to feature at this tournament but familiarity, or lack of, is a major problem for England. No connections, no creativity. As Gary Neville summarised during ITV’s half-time analysis, England look “basic”, and ideas are lacking most in the middle third of the pitch. Did improve as the game went on.

Conor Gallagher – 5

Conor Gallagher challenges for the ball with Timi Elsnik
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Conor Gallagher was replaced by Kobbie Mainoo at half time

Sloppy. Lost the ball more times than he retained it, but was, at least, aggressive and combative out of possession. Hooked at half-time does not exactly scream positivity, though.

Jude Bellingham – 6

Untidy in possession, and failed, for the most part, to recover his composure. We’d like Real Madrid’s Jude Bellingham to arrive, please. Anonymous after half time.

Bukayo Saka – 7

Bukayo Saka reacts after his effort is ruled out for offside
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Bukayo Saka reacts after his effort is ruled out for offside

Typically energetic. Wanted the ball, and was positive with it. Perhaps lacking in end product but remains one of England’s brighter sparks.

Harry Kane – 6

Kane’s first touch inside the box came in the 28th minute but he lost the ball. Six more followed, none managed to make an impact. Plenty of huff and puff but questions will remain over the captain’s fitness following another indifferent display. England have generated the fourth-worst combined xG (2.26) of any team at the tournament.

Phil Foden – 7

Willing to run behind, with Kane dropping ever deeper to link play. Bit of quick movement and ingenuity nearly produced the opening goal, which Saka rounded off before the offside flag was raised. By far England’s most dynamic attacking threat.

Substitutes

Kobbie Mainoo (for Gallagher) – 7

Kobbie Mainoo has given Gareth Southgate something to think about with a smart second-half display
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Kobbie Mainoo has given Gareth Southgate something to think about with a smart second-half display

Tried to change the pace of England’s passing to good effect. Ready to run, happy to receive the ball in tight areas, and looked to play forwards. Improved midfield balance too – got to be in with a shout of starting in the last-16 game this weekend.

Cole Palmer (for Saka) – 7

Positive. Direct. Gave England’s flank a different dimension. Shot in stoppage time lacked conviction but at least he was well-placed to take it on. He’s unpredictable in the very best way.

Trent Alexander-Arnold (for Trippier) – n/a

Confirmed: the midfield experiment is over. Alexander-Arnold spent the final six minutes of this game at full-back.

Anthony Gordon (for Foden) – n/a

Despite coming on at 89 minutes, Gordon created more chances (one) than Saka, Gallagher and Bellingham combined (zero).



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