The Three Lions’ hopes of reaching the Nations League finals were already over after back-to-back defeats to Denmark and Belgium, with Gareth Southgate’s side showing a lack of consistency in recent performances.
While England could not reach next year’s finals with a result tonight, there is the small matter of the European Championships for Southgate to prepare for.
There has been pressure on the England boss to rest key players with a return to Premier League football looming, but he also has limited time remaining to find the ideal tactical system for next summer’s Euros.
And with that in mind, Southgate named a strong starting XI – and was rewarded as goals from Declan Rice and Mason Mount put the Three Lions 2-0 ahead by half-time, while Phil Foden added two more late on.
England lineup (3-4-3): Pickford; Walker (Mings 64’), Maguire, Dier; Trippier (Maitland-Niles 85’), Foden, Rice, Saka; Mount (Winks 64’), Kane (Abraham 76’), Grealish (Sancho 76’)
Standard Sport’s Dan Kilpatrick and Simon Collings will bring you all the latest news, analysis and reaction LIVE from Wembley tonight.
Southgate on Foden
“I am really pleased for him. He is such an exciting player. It was a big week for him to come back in and, of course, not easy to walk through the door when you left how you did previously.
“But for us it was done. We knew what he is capable of and it was good to get him into the game against Ireland and to get the two goals today was a glimpse for everyone of what he is capable of.”
Southgate looks ahead
Gareth Southgate felt much would be learned from the Nations League campaign and friendlies over the past three months.
“We’ve got to learn from those experiences,” he said. “We’ve had some good performances and two of the best performances were in games we lost.
“But also we shot ourselves in the foot throughout this period. We made life difficult for ourselves off the pitch and we had some red cards on the pitch which were costly. We never had all our players available.
“When you are playing at the top level all those things can be costly.”
Rice on his shoulder goal
“I thought I timed it right. It might have come off my head and then onto my shoulder but when you see it hit the back of the net – that feeling – I just wish there were fans here. It was really special.
“You can’t put it into words. That’s 13 games I have had for England and it is something I need to keep doing. I need to keep adding goals to my game.”
Declan Rice was also pleased with his goalscoring performance and it was made all the sweeter coming alongside boyhood friend Mason Mount’s.
Rice told Sky Sports: “We have been best mates since we were eight years old. We have seen each others’ journeys and seen each other grow.
“Before the game when we knew we were playing in midfield together, that was a special moment, and then to score in the same game was incredible. I know my family and his family will be bursting with pride at home.”
Foden thanks Southgate
Foden praised the England boss for showing faith and recalling him after his high-profile disciplinary breach in September when he was sent home from the squad camp in Iceland.
“It was one of the hardest moments of my life. That’s the time you need the trust of your managers and Gareth had a lot of respect for me, to trust me to play tonight.
“I am just happy to repay him with the goals and play well. I was just determined to get back and do the best I can. I was a bit nervous at the start but I got used to it.”
Foden delight (Sky Sports)
I enjoyed that a lot. To score my first goals for England means a lot to me.
“I couldn’t stop smiling after it. It is an unbelievable feeling and I am just going to try to enjoy it as much as I can tonight.”
The Man City youngster is speaking to Sky Sports – we’ll have his reaction ASAP…
Full-time! England 4-0 Iceland
Well that was a good night for England overall. Plenty of positive performances, no injuries, a clean sheet, and four goals.
90 mins: Three minutes of added time left.
Chance for Saka!
89 mins: It really should be five as Saka ghosts onto a cross and is all alone at the back post, but he can only glance wide!
What an opportunity to score his first senior England goal.