England beat Austria 1-0 in the first of their Euro 2020 warm-up matches. However, there were more questions than answers after Trent Alexander-Arnold picked up a late injury.
Elsewhere, there was no sign of Jordan Henderson or Harry Maguire, which represents a sizable concern ahead of the tournament given their importance to this England team.

FORMATION

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Gareth Southgate named his 26-man squad on Monday. Remarkably, just 10 players remain from the cohort who made the semi-final of the World Cup in 2018. The England manager was unable to call on those who played in the Champions League final, so started Jesse Lingard, who did not make the squad.
Elsewhere, Kieran Trippier started at left-back with Alexander Arnold positioned at right-back. The Liverpool player appeared to pull up with a muscle strain in the dying moments of the game, casting a doubt on his participation at the tournament.
Southgate went with a 4-2-3-1 formation with Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham sat in front of a centre-half pairing of Tyrone Mings and Conor Coady, with Mings the likeliest to step in for the injured Harry Maguire. Bukayo Saka and Lingard operated wide of Jack Grealish stationed in the number 10 position, with Harry Kane leading the line.

BIG WINNERS - Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling

The form of Sterling and Rashford have been the focus of much scrutiny these last few weeks. However, whether by design or indecision, Lingard and Saka failed to consistently run inside and beyond their full-backs. Thus, it was all a bit congested in attack for England at times.
Rashford and Sterling, by instinct, offer a threat beyond and central of Kane. And that threat is crucial to England imposing themselves upon teams and also opening space for Kane to excel in the way he has with Tottenham this season. One of Rashford or Sterling have to start.

BIG LOSERS - Gareth Southgate and Trent Alexander Arnold

Southgate has a squad seeping in talent. However, if there is an area of weakness in this England squad, it is at centre-half. Harry Maguire, England's best option in this area, has been named in the squad despite struggling with injury. He has an ankle ligament complaint and may not make any of the Group Stage matches.
Conor Coady and Tyrone Mings started at centre-half and Maguire’s deputy will likely come from one of those two. However, Austria offered limited threat going forward and neither Coady nor Mings were given a thorough test of their credentials.
Trent Alexander Arnold, after battling his way back into the squad, looks to have picked up an injury that could rule him out of the tournament.

PLAYER RATINGS

Pickford - 7 - With 18 minutes gone, he played a pass that encompassed his importance to the way Southgate wants England to play. The Everton stopper split two lines of players with a fizzed pass into Grealish. Was rarely troubled.
Alexander-Arnold - 7 - The Liverpool full-back has crudely been accused of not replicating his Liverpool form at international level, completely missing the fact that he operates within a completely different system for England. However, Southgate said pre-match that England would set up to extract the most from the full-back. And he started brightly but faded but held his own in one-on-one situations - another criticism of the 22 year old. A late injury could rule him out of the Euros.
Coady - 6 - Solid without being tested by a laboured Austria attack.
Mings - 6 - Made one excellent recovery tackle to deny Christoph Baumgartner in the first half. Was composed with and without the ball but rarely encountered any form of pressure from Saša Kalajdžić.
Trippier 6 - It has been said that the former Tottenham defender "has a glove on his foot" such has been his excellence - and importance - to Atleti's Liga triumph. However, operating from the left, his ability to deliver in stride was nullified. He did, however, show some of that Diego Simeone-imbued tenacity.
Bellingham - 8 - The Borussia Dortmund midfielder was 12 last time England played a European Championship game and has a composure well beyond his years. Positionally disciplined, with an ability to set the tempo of the team.
Rice - 6 - Neat and tidy, and dovetailed nicely with Bellingham. Left Mings and Coady exposed once in the first half and a more clinical team may have punished that misstep.
Lingard - 7 - A brilliant first-time pass for the Saka goal was illustrative of the threat the midfielder brings.
Saka - 8 - Bright and inventive for much of the first half and looked to have the beating of his full-back every time he faced him up. However, probably under instruction, stayed wide for much of the first half. Rewarded for an excellent performance with a first England goal.
Grealish - 8 - Operating in a slightly different position to the one he occupies for Villa. But showed some signs of a growing understanding with Harry Kane. He was the creative spark that made the England goal - and must start against Croatia.
Kane - 7 - Had a sight of goal on the half hour but Austria keeper Daniel Bachmann did well to smother the chance. Kane for large swathes of the match, as per his Tottenham wont, dropped deep to pick the ball up. However, this had a detrimental effect on the space available to Jack Grealish. Something perhaps to work through during the next friendly against Romania.
SUBS:
Godfrey - 6 - Nearly had a nightmare start to his England career with a stray backpass. An excellent defender and one for the future
Dominic Calvert Lewin - 6 - Received a yellow card for, well, a brilliant leap.
Ollie Watkins - 5 - Worked hard but changes affected England’s fluidity.
James Ward Prowse - 5 - Neat and tidy but did little to suggest Southgate had made a mistake in not picking him
Ben White: N/A

VERDICT

Southgate learned nothing he did not already know. England are excellent going forward with a wealth of options but things remain complicated on the defensive side of the ball. The centre-half question remains and it looks like Alexander Arnold could be out of the tournament. The lack of involvement of Maguire and Henderson remains a worry.
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