England vs Germany was a game where both sides made numerous changes and gave a lot of younger players opportunities. Ruben Loftus-Cheek was the pick of the bunch for England. They battled to a 0-0 draw with current world champions Germany.
On loan from Chelsea, the Crystal Palace man impressed immensely. As well, Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford pulled off several key saves to deny the Germans.
Manchester City centre back John Stones continued to impress at the back. He carried his good form at club level on to the international stage, putting in a solid defensive performance.
Three Players that Impressed in England’s Draw with Germany
As far as debuts go, Ruben Loftus-Cheek will be absolutely delighted with his performance on Friday night at Wembley. The 21-year old played a vital role in the heart of midfield. It is a position Southgate himself has expressed a desire to improve. He drove this youthful England side forward at every opportunity.
The South Londoner made an impressive 67 touches on the ball. This was the most by any England player at the top end of the pitch. Even more impressively, he ended with a pass succession rate of 96%.
Aside from the statistics, Loftus-Cheek genuinely looked like an international footballer on his first venture in the England senior side. The English midfield have been criticised in recent years for making four passes forward and ten passes backwards, with a sense of tactical naivety in the engine room of side. However, there were no signs of this on Friday night.
The Palace man drove this England side forward at all times. He was playing balls in behind for Vardy to run onto, floating a lovely pass over the German defenders on the edge of the box in the second half and even managed a double nutmeg in the first half. If Ruben Loftus-Cheek can continue to impress whilst on loan at Crystal Palace this summer, there is no reason to suggest the midfielder will not make the plane for next year’s World Cup.
Having conceded 32 goals in all competitions this season, Jordan Pickford had a point to prove on his England debut.
With Jack Butland pulling out through injury and Joe Hart himself not in the greatest of form, Southgate handed Pickford with an opportunity to shine ahead of the World Cup next summer and he did not disappoint.
The 23-year-old was called upon early into the game following some poor defending from Harry Maguire. He was forced to rush off his line to smother the threat of German forward Werner. It was this save that laid the foundations for a heroic performance from the goalkeeper on his senior debut.
Twice Pickford pulled off two fantastic saves low down to deny Werner. Most significantly in the 38th minute, he pulled off a superb one-handed save. He then reacted quick enough to jump up and grab the ball before it spilled out to the German attack.
Pickford continued to produce a flurry of saves throughout the game to deny the opposition. When it seemed he had been finally beaten, the goalkeeper had his centre back Phil Jones to thank for a headed clearance off the line.
The Everton goalkeeper must also be praised for his quick-fire distribution throughout the game. When the likes of Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling return to the side this will become even more effective when punishing the opposition quickly on the break.
Having been criticised throughout last season following his £50,000,000 move from Everton to Manchester City in the summer of 2016, John Stones has made a superb start to the season and continued his good form for England on Friday night.
With Southgate opting to go for a back three for the visit of Germany, Stones played a vital role in commanding the back line. He played in a calm and assured manner, not being afraid to play out from the back.
The 23-year-old put a solid performance in. He was constantly looking to play the ball into midfield towards Dier and Loftus-Cheek. When the German attack pressured the English defence when on the ball, Stones was more than assured in producing a one touch pass to get his side playing out from the back.
Stones looks a completely different player this season with the influence of Pep Guardiola. It has clearly had the desired effect on the Englishman and this will be vital for England ahead of next summer’s World Cup finals.