England 1-0 Portugal – 5 things we learned


Roy Hodgson seemed to think England had played quite well in their 1-0 win over Portugal.

Sadly, he must have been watching a different game to the almost capacity crowd and the millions watching at home.

The Three Lions boss told the London Evening Standard that his side “played some very good football”, but it was sparse, thanks in large part to his tactics.

Here are 5 things we learned – and more importantly, Hodgson can learn – going into the Euro 2016 opener against Russia.

5) Kyle Walker must start. The Spurs right-back was one of the few positives to take, as he was the only really inspiring England player. He was in and around the Portugal box, putting in crosses, and was solid at the back too. The trouble was that, unlike at Spurs, England didn’t have enough width, so the full-backs were alone.

4) Wayne Rooney is being accommodated for the sake of it. It seems impossible to get the best out of him and Dele Alli at the same time, and he is preventing Alli from playing in his natural position. His presence also forced Jamie Vardy and Harry Kane wider than they would like, so it was difficult for them to get involved.

3) Kane is one tough cookie. He got straight back up from a nasty Bruno Alves challenge that led to Portugal’s red card. Exactly the kind of professionalism we’d like to see more of in football. However resilient he may be, though, that doesn’t mean he should be taking free-kicks. Or corners. Why Hodgson has him doing either is beyond comprehension, particularly as that’s one of the few areas where James Milner can actually contribute. So let him have it.

2) Raheem Sterling could be back to his best soon. He has been struggling with confidence since the turn of the year, but he looked strong when he came on, setting up Chris Smalling’s goal and giving England a little more pace.


1) England lack a proper winger. Andros Townsend was one of three players cut from the squad (alongside Fabian Delph and Danny Drinkwater), but maybe Hodgson should have kept him in after all. Walker’s job could have been so much easier if he wasn’t doing it all himself.

On a side note, Renato Sanches was thrilling for Portugal when he came on, and gave the onlooking Jose Mourinho a reminder of why Manchester United should have continued their pursuit of him instead of allowing him to join Bayern Munich.

Overall, there was plenty of food for thought, if not much inspiration, in the final warm-up game at Wembley.

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