International Soccer

England’s best and worst players in spirited draw with Belgium

England showed their grit and determination on Tuesday evening, twice fighting from behind to secure a 2-2 draw with Belgium at Wembley.

It may have only been an international friendly, but Jude Bellingham’s stoppage-time equaliser stopped Garteh Southgate’s side from falling to successive defeats on home soil following the weekend loss to Brazil.

It was a largely impressive performance from England as they looked far more dangerous in the final third than on Saturday, but the Three Lions could have come away with a victory if it hadn’t been for some disappointing individual errors at the back.

Here are England’s best and worst performers from the draw with Belgium.

Kobbie Mainoo – 8/10

Kobbie Mainoo, Zeno Debast

Mainoo’s first start was impressive / Julian Finney/GettyImages

It’s bordering on boring to say at this point, but are we sure that Kobbie Mainoo is 18 years old?

The Manchester United midfielder seized the opportunity to impress on his first England start, exhibiting his maturity and defensive resilience up against the likes of Leandro Trossard and Jeremy Doku.

However, it was Mainoo’s attacking performance that was so impressive at Wembley. The teenager played a huge part in England’s first-half equaliser with a quick turn of pace and incisive pass into Bellingham, and he continually drove forward with the ball from deep positions. If it wasn’t for a smart stop from Matz Sels after the break, he could have opened his England account as well.

The youngster is a special talent and may well have already guaranteed himself a spot on the plane for Euro 2024 after just two appearances.

Honourable mention

Jude Bellingham – 8/10

Scoring a 95th-minute equaliser should be enough to secure you player of the match, but Bellingham will have to settle for honourable mention. To be honest, it was a toss of the coin between the two young midfielders, with the Real Madrid man also mightily impressive at Wembley.

He showed great composure to secure England a draw and his perfectly weighted pass helped force a first-half penalty. He was at the heart of England’s best moments in the attacking third and he is the difference-maker for Southgate.

Jordan Pickford – 4/10


Pickford’s mistake put England on the back foot / ADRIAN DENNIS/GettyImages

Jordan Pickford has been much improved when it comes to costly individual errors and rarely puts a foot wrong in an England shirt. However, his inaccurate pass was pounced upon by Belgium just 11 minutes into the match, with the Everton stopper’s attempts to keep out Youri Tielemans’ subsequent 20-yard effort far from inspiring.

Pickford was almost a spectator for the remainder of the game, but those are the mistakes that will prove decisive in major tournaments. A night to forget for Southgate’s first-choice goalkeeper.

Dishonourable mention

Lewis Dunk – 4/10

A few of England’s defensive players struggled against Belgium, despite not coming under too much pressure. Joe Gomez was poor in a rare international outing and couldn’t handle Doku, but Lewis Dunk, similalry to Pickford, was guilty of handing the visitors a goal.

The Brighton defender, whose passing was also a bit wayward at times, failed to deal with a routine ball in behind, stumbling and allowing Romelu Lukaku to attack the penalty area. The Roma striker, who capitalised on an eerily similar Dunk error in the Europa League several weeks ago, set up Tielemans with a magnificent cross as England went into the break behind.

Centre-back remains a problem area for England with John Stones the only elite option Southgate currently possesses, and Dunk will have done himself no favours with a nervy display on Tuesday.


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