DRAB ENGLAND looked totally out of trend at Milan Fashion Week – and were deservedly and embarrassingly banned from the top division of the Nations League.
As a collective, Gareth Southgate’s men have once again not done enough to create chances and have now gone five games without a goal from open play.
Despite a nervous start, there wasn’t the same defensive chaos seen in the humiliating home loss to Hungary.
But an error from Kyle Walker was enough to secure the only goal for man of the match Giacomo Raspadori.
Eric Dier’s return and Jude Bellingham’s continued progress were the only significant positives from another dismal night in the competition.
Most worryingly, England’s starting XI for the World Cup opener against Iran may not look much different in less than two months.
The performance must be.
NICK POPE – 7
In the absence of the injured Jordan Pickford, he had a rare chance to assert himself against top-flight opponents.
Made a good early stop from Scamacca then didn’t have much to do until Raspadori and Gabbiadini saved in the second half.
Questions remain about its distribution, especially under pressure at mid-range.
HOW TO GET FREE BETS ON SOCCER
The Elder Statesman of the Friends Reunited Russia 2018 World Cup three-defense tried to calm things down after the nervous start.
Had a few hairy moments, not all his fault but mostly sound on and off the ball.
Until he made raspadori come on the wrong side and then cut inwards to score.
ERIC DIER – 7
Made a well deserved, some would say overdue return after last performing in England in November 2020.
Approached the unspectacular work of the defense with a minimum of frills and excitement.
A key block on Bryan Cristante, who shot in the first half, stole the ball from the same player in the second half.
Whole store at the start and passed by Scamacca for the header saved by Pope.
Took a deep breath and improved at the back while bothering himself with set pieces at the other end.
Received an important foot in Dangerman Raspadori, something Walker failed to do for the goal.
Did his defensive work well enough after everyone got off to a sticky start.
Had more chances to show the other side of his game than Saka but failed to replicate the quality of his Chelsea deliveries.
Swung a free-kick over the bar from a decent position in the second half after Sterling was fouled.
JUDE BELLINGHAM – 7
Tried his best to improve a bad game and cover a huge area.
It’s so refreshing to see an England midfielder ready to give and go and he was England’s biggest threat after the break.
Heads over the bar late but has to start against Iran in Qatar, the only question is whether two or three in midfield.
DECLAN RICE – 6th
Full of energy and commitment as usual, but without much to show for it.
Spent part of the first half fighting fire as the game mostly went past England midfield.
As a solid starter for the World Cup, the debate continues over who to use around him to get the best out of the West Ham skipper and team.
BUKAYO-SAKA – 5
A lot of Italy’s attacks in the first half came from the right and it must be quite a transition going from right wing to left-back.
Barely had a chance to show what he had going forward because his team was often behind.
But things didn’t improve before it was canceled and it would be a surprise if it tried again.
Phil Foden – 6th
The closest England came to an offensive threat was in the first half.
Started dropping low early on in search of the ball as the team struggled for good possession.
Not as effective after the break, but justifiably annoyed that Kane didn’t notice or didn’t pass on him for once.
Until he forced a double save from Donnarumma in the final 15 minutes, he never looked set to equal Wayne Rooney’s England record.
Guilty of wasting half-openers including a shot over the bar in the first half and an inability to play at Foden in the second.
Came off worse in a head-to-head clash with Rafael Toloi, thankfully without repercussions
RAHEEM STERLING – 5TH
Had a disappointing game given the high standards he set for himself.
Can’t match the speed of his former Manchester City teammate on the other side.
Led Bonucci to foul from the edge of the box but that was his only significant contribution.
Grealish (for Saka, 72′) – 5
Brought to 4-2-3-1 as part of a tactical switch but it didn’t help much and he struggled to make an impact.
Shaw (for Walker, 72) – 6th
As Maguire trusted despite his lack of club minutes due to a lack of alternatives. At least sent a dangerous cross.
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/6291851/italy-1-england-0-nations-league-match-ratings/ England ratings: Dier Three Lions’ best player on long-overdue return but Sterling struggles to replicate Chelsea’s form