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Five talking points from England 2-0 Ukraine
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William Furness
Bukayo Saka and Harry Kane celebrate England's second goal
Bukayo Saka and Harry Kane celebrate England's second goal

England eased to a 2-0 victory over Ukraine thanks to Harry Kane and Bukayo Saka's first-half goals at Wembley.

Kane notched his 55th international strike in the 37th minute and Saka curled in a beautiful effort only three minutes later. 

It was a routine win for Gareth Southgate's side who have had a successful international break, winning both of their opening Euro 2024 qualifying games. 

The players are back to club duty until June, when they will aim to continue their perfect campaign against Malta and North Macedonia. 

Sublime Saka 

With England building their squad to compete at next year's European Championship, Saka has once again proved that he is one of the first names in the starting XI. 

The 21-year-old is having a fantastic season with Arsenal and he took that form into this game especially — grabbing a goal and an assist in the first half.

The cross for Kane's goal was superb. He shifted the ball on to his left foot, worked a yard of space and whipped in a cross that landed on his captain's boot. 

His goal was equally as impressive — Saka once again earned himself room but this time he chose to cut in and curl a wonderful strike into the back of the net. 

If England are to push on and win a major trophy, Saka will be at the heart of it. 

King Kane

England's first goal of the afternoon showcased Kane's world-class skillset. 

He received a pass with his back to goal, managed to turn and switch the ball out to Saka, making the entire Ukrainian team shift across the field in the process.

This allowed Kane to creep in at the back post and show the clinical side to his game. Saka put a brilliant cross into the box and the England skipper tapped the ball home.

This was the 29-year-old's 55th goal for the Three Lions and it was a great demonstration of his ability to link up play but also get into the right positions to score. 

Harry Kane taps home England's opening goal
Harry Kane taps home England's opening goal

Maddison lively 

James Maddison was rewarded with his first England start and despite not grabbing a goal contribution, he had a positive performance. 

The 26-year-old was played on the left-hand side, forming a front three with Kane and Saka.

He constantly looked to receive the ball between the lines, finding pockets of space that made Ukraine uncomfortable. 

There were a couple of incidents where his final ball let him down but that was perhaps due to his his lack of familiarity with his team-mates. 

However, it was still a strong display as the Leicester midfielder was generally a lively outlet who wanted to push his side up the pitch and create chances. 

Finding a balance

Kyle Walker and Ben Chilwell were the chosen full-backs for Southgate this afternoon but they both had very different roles. 

When England were in possession, Walker would shuffle to a more narrow position to form a back three with Harry Maguire and John Stones. 

Chilwell, however, would go very high and wide — effectively being England's width on the left-hand side as Maddison would float into central areas.

The intention behind this could also be safety first, as Walker's recovery pace can protect England if they lose the ball and the opposition counter-attack. 

Toney debut 

Ivan Toney made his England debut
Ivan Toney made his England debut

In the 81st minute, Ivan Toney came on to make his England debut.

Having never represented his country at youth level, his first cap aged 27 was testament to his work up the lower leagues to the pinnacle of his career to date.

England strikers are generally in a sorry situation with Kane assured of his place leading the line, so they will only be afforded quick cameos to impress Southgate. 

He did not conjure up anything of note but if he keeps his Premier League form up this will not be the only time he represents his country. 


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