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  • By Yann Tear

England v Italy: Player ratings after another Nations League stalemate

Nations League: Molineux

England are still looking for their first win of their Nations League group after three games as they were easily held by Italy, their nemesis from Euro 2020. Match Report here

Both sides fashioned a couple of good chances apiece but defences increasingly dominated in a 0-0 stalemate which leaves the Three Lions with two draws and a defeat to their name ahead of Tuesday night’s return clash with Hungary.

That match, as today, will be at Molineux, home of the Wolves, but will welcome a full house, unlike this behind-closed-doors affair, which was a reminder of that fateful night when England lost on penalties to Italy at Wembley.

The mob which gate-crashed the game condemned England to the punishment of playing without fans – apart from 2,000 or so youngsters given special dispensation to attend.

Here’s what we made of the players in what was the penultimate match of a very long campaign:

Aaron Ramsdale: 7

Almost beaten in the opening two minutes by Davide Frattesi’s burst into the box but put in an assured shift, tipping one deflected shot over the bar and blocking another great chance for Sandro Tonali. Showed an appetite for the stage.

Reece James: 6

Another street-wise performance from the Chelsea man. Creates a huge obstacle for any would-be opposition adventure down the England right.

Harry Maguire: 6

A good evening for the much-maligned defender. Survived a few first-half wobbles to emerge intact. A whole-hearted performance and he will have enjoyed the clean sheet.

Fikayo Timori: 6

The former Chelsea defender has long been championed as a player who should start regularly and he was calm enough and dealt well with Gianluca Scamacca. A few passing errors but played almost until the end before Palace’s Marc Guehi gave him a rest.

Kieran Trippier: 6

Spell abroad with Atletico has leant the former Spurs man a greater air of authority. A strong presence down the left. Linked well with Grealish at times and looked comfortable in possession.

Declan Rice: 8

Underlined again his growing stature with another imperious display. He did not look like a man who has played a million games and should have his feet up by now. Always involved – either in breaking up attacks or sparking England breaks out of defence. Class act.

James Ward-Prowse: 5

A big audition for the Saints midfielder who sprayed some god passes out wide to Grealish and Sterling. Would have loved an in-range free-kick to really make his case. A good contribution and played the entire 90 minutes but might have hoped to pose a bigger threat.

Mason Mount: 5

Smacked the crossbar in what was England’s best chance of the half but as is often the case with the midfielder, he faded after a lively, promising start and departed on the hour.

Raheem Sterling: 5

Turned a good chance over the bar from close range early in the second half and shot low on the turn to test Gianluigi Donnarumma in the Italian goal. Southgate’s skipper looked a little clumsy in his first touch for once. Made way for Bukayo Saka for the last 10.

Tammy Abraham: 6

Put an early half chance wide but the way he harried the Italian defence carried a threat for the hosts. Looks sharp on the back of his brilliant trophy-winning season with Roma.

Jack Grealish: 7

A fine cameo in the 1-1 draw with Germany in Munich meant his inclusion from the start was guaranteed and he impressed with his energetic work down the left and link-up play, even if there was not quite an end product.

Harry Kane: 6

Came on after 65 minutes for Abraham to squeals of delighted approval from the young audience. Fired over after one-two with Sterling into the inside-left channel. A difficult chance.

Kalvin Phillips: 6

Replaced for Rice as part of a triple substitution just past the hour. Made an important late intervention in the box to deny Italy a late chance.

Jerrod Bowen: 6

On for Mount on 65 minutes and made some forceful runs at the Italian defence. A very confident showing.


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