Ross Barkley & Hudson-Odoi shine/Sterling sets up Kane

Montenegro 1 England 5

Vesovic 17  Keane 30 Barkley 39 Barkley 59  Kane 71 Sterling 81

Montenegro, a tiny nation of 600,000 people, is ranked No.46 in the world and they often punch above their weight.

In Podgorica last night they scored with their first attack.

Marco Vesovic sliced into the England penalty area and tried a one -two but the ball broke back to him off the leg of centreback Michael Keane of Burnley and Vesovic then produced a classy right foot finish that curled round Harry Maguire and beyond Jason Pickford.

Powerhouse Kyle Walker won a free-kick on the right side when he was flattened by Tomasevic, Ross Barkley took it and Michael Keane headed home at the far post for 1-1.

Then Mugosa had a shot from distance that was well held by Pickford.

On 30 two-footed winger Callum Hudson-Odoi cut in from the left flank and his shot was volleyed in by Ross Barkley.

HT score: Montenegro 1 England 2

Raheem Sterling, Friday night’s hat-trick hero against the Czechs, now turned provider with a right winger’s wriggle to the bye-line and a cutback that Ross Barkley stroked home for 1-3.

Our fourth goal was a slick counter-attack started by sub Jordan Henderson after he won the ball in the centre circle and released Raheem on the right.  His measured cross allowed Harry Kane to stretch his left boot forward and stab home from seven yards.

When Henderson released Sterling he swerved inside Stokovic and made it 1-5 with a sweet left-foot shot.Such a classy finish!

Ross Barkley, now 24, has always had size, skills and vision. He is now a maturing into a footballer with authority.Since Sarri started to trust Ross, he’s played a lot more efficiently for Chelsea and England have benefited.

But will the ultra-conservative Italian ever start Hudson-Odoi?

Sarri now says he will not play an 18-year old.

Bayern Munich have offered 30 million euros for Callum. But better teams than Bayern will want him too.

Footballers have to play to improve, everyone knows that.

Raheem Sterling has developed so much under Pep Guardiola. He’s so reliable now. He keeps producing and has become a world class team player who creates goals as well as scores them.

Sterling’s success means Dele Alli is now playing out of position in left midfield.

Dele’s qualities are power, finishing and the ability read the game instantly and know where the ball should go.

Off the ball, Dele is one of the smartest players around. The manager keeps picking him because of his versatility and strong mentality.

VERDICT: Southgate wasn’t timid. He was bold.

He picked an adventurous young team of the kind previous England’s managers would only have selected in a friendly match. And it worked. Fortune favours the brave.

Maybe Gareth will bring back that lucky waistcoat for the World Cup Final and win another penalty shoot-out.


MONTENEGRO: Petkovic, Stojkovic, Savic, Simic, Tomasevic, Marusic, Ivanic, Vukcevic, Vesovic, Beciraj, Mugosa.

Subs: Mijatovic, Ljuljanovic, Boljevic, Kopitovic, Bakic, Jankovic, Djordjevic, Jovetic, Kajevic, Kosovic, Scekic, Radunovic.

ENGLAND: Pickford, Walker, Maguire, Keane, Rose, Barkley, Rice, Alli, Sterling, Kane, Hudson-Odoi.

Subs: Heaton, Butland, Trippier, Henderson, Tarkowski, Chilwell, Ward-Prowse, Sancho, Wilson.

Referee: Aleksei Kulbakov (Belarus).

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