Rating Saka and the rest as England end the season in style with a 7-0 drubbing of North Macedonia

Saka England Credit: Alamy

Bukayo Saka and Marcus Rashford tore it up in their first start together for England, who gave North Macedonia a good old fashioned thrashing at Old Trafford.

After 36 touches, none of which were taken in his six-yard box, and no saves in two caps, Pickford will be cursing the lack of injury that prevented an extra couple of weeks on the beach.

His cross for Of‘s goal looked a little worn at first glance and we’re still not entirely convinced he picked him out, but it’s an assist nonetheless. Hardly a sweat in defense or attack.

Won a penalty by diving into the box despite the foul clearly being committed outside it. Must have been desperate to play his Manchester City role instead of this silly centre-back nonsense.

The passing radar was off a couple of times but this wasn’t the game to prove he deserves a place in this England squad or otherwise. Any current or former England centre-back would have waltzed through this game.

Missed a tackle early on to leave space behind him for a very rare North Macedonian foray into the England box, but did nothing wrong beyond that. A nice run and decent cross too sleigh‘s goal.

He kept Eljif Elmas – man of six goals and three assists in 36 games for Napoli in their Serie A-winning season – very quiet and did everything required of a defensive midfielder without any attacking threat. Did not make his typical lung-bursting midfield runs as there was no requirement or opportunity for it.

We are simultaneously delighted to see him splashing balls around from midfield for England and at the thought of how angry Liverpool Fans will be when Jude Bellingham comes back and he’s benched.

Few players in world football could have played that pass to Saka, and indeed, while most suggested horses for lane selection would play Alexander-Arnold against low blocks and smaller teams, that sort of pass would be very useful against sides that put England under pressure. their own half.

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You can argue that any of the Conor Gallagher, Jack Grealish, Phil Foot, God bless you or James Maddison would have been better suited to the role Henderson occupied as the furthest outsider of England’s midfield three, and you could easily win said argument. He certainly wouldn’t be our first choice to make third-man runs into the penalty area either; in fact, he may very well be our last.

And yet he actually did pretty well setting up Rashford for his goal as well as playing the pivotal pinpoint pass to open up North Macedonia for England’s opening game. There is still life in the old dog.

Square it, you greedy fool…

A first career hat trick and you’d be wise to see a better one. The first touch to his opener was absurd, the finish smashed but not as smashed as his second which was in the opposite top corner of his first and the timing of the runs for all three was perfect.

Saka was relatively quiet compared to Rashford in the first half as the pair made their first England start together, but ended up stealing the show. Treble winners Grealish and Foden may have to watch games from the bench for a while.

Scored what looked like a simple chance to make it six in six for his country, but plenty of former England strikers would have puffed a bobbled ball onto their weaker foot before smashing home a penalty with Callum Wilson stripped and ready to replace him.

Not much space for him to drop deep and create, but the one time he did get some, he drilled a perfect pass into Saka for his hat-trick.

At least he had the left wing-back and left centre-back on him all the time, and when they couldn’t handle him (which happened relatively frequently) another centre-back arrived to make it three on one.

That magnetism created space for Shaw, who was found by Rashford with a lovely nutmeg pass before crossing for Kane to finish. He came more and more from the wing as the game progressed, played quite a bit in the second and should have scored another on top of the tap-in he got.

The confidence of a season with 30 goals and an impending bumper contract runs through the guy.


JACK GREALISH (on for Rashford, 58)
Decent cross for Calvin Phillips‘ goal, but his decision-making left something to be desired once or twice.

CONOR GALLAGHER (on for Henderson, 58)
Always keen to run into the box and perhaps should have done better on a couple of occasions in good positions.

PHIL FODEN (on for Saka, 58)
A brilliant game. A brilliant race. A brilliant player.

KALVIN PHILLIPS (on to Rice58)
He couldn’t pass up the chance he got and kept it simple too.

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