ow Harry Kane must have been desperate to get out there.
The Three Lions won 5-0, but they missed the clinical finishing of Kane to ensure the scoreline reflected their dominance.
It is hard to imagine goalkeeper Elia Benedettini enjoying such a night out if England’s attack had displayed anything like the cutting edge they will require against better opponents than the lowest-ranked nation in world football.
Benedettini had a personal duel with Jesse Lingard but, in truth, he was aided by the on-loan West Ham forward’s wayward finishing.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin got the job any English striker would have dreamed of by leading the line from the start and walked away with two goals, but he will be left ruing the chances that got away.
Ollie Watkins stepped off the bench to grab a debut goal, with a fine finish to raise the question about the damage he might have done from the off.
The excellent James Ward-Prowse had opened the scoring and captain Raheem Sterling was also on the scoresheet with an effort that deflected off Dante Rossi.
These games can be thankless tasks. Of course victory was never in doubt. Of course San Marino were virtual bystanders. That is why scrutiny is heightened.
These are the games where England need to fully assert their dominance. And even a 5-0 scoreline leaves you wanting more.
They had enough chances to more than double their goal count. Sterling’s desperation to get on the scoresheet in the first half saw him snatch at chances and get in his team-mates’ way.
Lingard – a constant threat right across the front, with 10 shots and five on target – lacked the composure to make any of them count.
On this occasion it did not matter, but Southgate will know his side cannot afford to be so wasteful in the games that really matter if England are to be triumphant at the Euros.
But there were also positives.
Ward-Prowse oozed class. Ben Chilwell and Reece James produced high-quality service from the wings and Mason Mount underlined why he is a certain starter in Southgate’s first-choice XI.
Two more goals for Calvert-Lewin continue his impressive season and Watkins’ strike will do wonders for his confidence.
Leaving Kane on the bench will also avoid a club vs country row with Jose Mourinho.
He was not needed on this occasion, but it was a game that only emphasised his importance to his country.
Ward-Prowse makes his case
When England’s wealth of midfield talent is being highlighted, Ward-Prowse often seems to get forgotten.
For all the talk of Phil Foden, Mount and Declan Rice, Ward-Prowse is more of a hidden gem.
But his outstanding form for Southampton has ensured he is very much in Southgate’s mind and his opening goal against San Marino allowed him to enjoy the spotlight for a moment.
His free-kick that was pushed against the post in the second half would have crowned this display.
If more of England’s players had shown the same composure in front of goal, this would have been an even more emphatic win.
Much was made of Southgate experimenting with a back four in these three games, but he will have learned nothing from a defensive point of view from this match.
England lined up with an orthodox four-man defence, but Stones was effectively a midfielder, while Chilwell and James were wingers against a San Marino team that could barely get out of their own area.
Southgate may need another look at this formation to see if it actually works.