February 8, 2023

England and USA played out a dull goalless draw in Friday’s World Cup clash at the Al Bayt Stadium. The Three Lions had gone into the game hoping to build on their 6-2 win over Iran at the beginning of the week. But that didn’t happen – and Express Sport will now take a look at four things we learned from the showdown.

Mount and Sterling need dropping

There’s no denying Mason Mount and Raheem Sterling are two superb footballers. They deserve to be in the England squad, even if their form for Chelsea has been iffy this season.

But they were poor for the Three Lions on Friday night and, though their selection is understandable, it’s time for Gareth Southgate to gamble by giving other players a chance instead.

Perhaps changing to a 4-2-3-1 formation would benefit England, with Phil Foden then coming in.

Foden would be useful as a No 10, particularly with England struggling to create chances for their forwards, while Marcus Rashford seems like the perfect replacement for Sterling.

Rashford is a man in form and, though Sterling scored against Iran, the Chelsea star is not.

Harry Maguire a bright spark
While England were poor up top against USA, they did well at the back – despite the Yanks threatening on occasions.

And it was another good day at the office for Harry Maguire, with the Manchester United star leading with authority and digging his side out of some tough situations.

He won three headers in a row during the second half, at a time where England were coming under the cosh.

And it’s certainly remarkable to see how different he is for his country instead of his club, having toiled at United over the past 12 months.

There weren’t too many positives from tonight’s game – but Maguire was the biggest of the lot.

Southgate trusts his players. That’s something he’s made clear time and time again, ever since he took the job from Sam Allardyce.

But when it comes to making substitutions, he can sometimes be too slow.

This was another one of those nights. England should really have tinkered with their team at half time, with USA on top for large periods of the match in Qatar.

It isn’t the first time this accusation has been thrown at Southgate.

He was also too late when it came to making substitutions in the final of the European Championships last summer, something that cost his side when the likes of Rashford, Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho missed from the penalty spot.

Jude Bellingham patience needed
Plenty has been said and written about Jude Bellingham in the aftermath of his sensational performance against Iran.

But the Borussia Dortmund star was brought crashing back down to earth, putting in a flat display on a forgettable evening as his side struggled to break USA down.

Bellingham, however, warrants patience. Just because he didn’t have the best of games this evening doesn’t mean he should be criticised.

It’s obvious the talent is there, which is why the likes of Real Madrid, Manchester United and Manchester City are all keen on securing his signature.

Bellingham is unlikely to let tonight get to him and is still expected to start when the Three Lions face off against Wales on Tuesday.- Wales are all but out of the tournament, having lost 2-0 to Iran earlier today.

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