Two stars staking claim for England spot and three at risk after Hungary defeat

For the latest from the pitch sign up for our football newsletter

England's nightmare start to the new UEFA Nations League continued on as they slumped to a shock 4-0 defeat against Hungary on a toxic night at Molineux.

England headed into Tuesday night's match desperately needing a win to lift the gloom after failing to win any of their opening three games in the new Nations League campaign. But Gareth Southgate's side made the worst possible start, with Roland Sallai nudging the visitors into the lead after just 16 minutes. The attacker grabbed his second goal in the 69th minute before Zsolt Nagy and Daniel Nazdag found the net late on.

It's been a rotten international break for the Three Lions, and with the World Cup fast approaching, a number of stars headed into this flurry of fixtures with hopes of cementing a place in Southgate's squad. Here, Daily Star Sport takes a look at players who played their way into contention in the Midlands and some who didn't do themselves any favours…

Two players staking a claim

Jarrod Bowen

The West Ham winger has enjoyed a stunning season in the Premier League, but he's struggled to replicate his domestic form on the international stage over the past 10 days and he was even taken off at the break by Southgate.

However, Bowen was the best of a bad bunch in a woeful first-half for England and the decision to haul him off at the break was a tad harsh. The forward tried his best to make things happen for the Three Lions and was a decent outlet on the flanks, but he'll be haunted by his point-blank miss late in the half.

Competition for a spot in England's attack is fierce right now, but Bowen is currently right in the mix – and he done his chances of gatecrashing England's World Cup squad no harm on Tuesday night.

Reece James

England have an abundance of talent available to them at right-back, but Reece James may have stolen a march on some his competitors at Molineux.

The Chelsea man has also excelled domestically for the Blues and was the standout performer on a rotten, rotten night for England. James filled a hole at left-back in the first-half but he really showed his stuff when he was moved to the right flank after the break.

As well as Kieran Trippier and Kyle Walker – who have the long-term custodians of the right-back role for England – James also has Trent Alexander-Arnold to contend with for a World Cup spot. But on this evidence, the Blues man could have the edge on his rivals if he can keep his impressive form going for Chelsea in the coming months.

Three players at risk

Aaron Ramsdale

Aaron Ramsdale is another star who has played his way into contention for a World Cup spot with his performances in the Premier League over the past 12 months – but the Arsenal shot-stopper failed to cover himself in glory against Hungary.

The 24-year-old will be disappointed with the goal that the Three Lions conceded in the first half, with Sallai's strike ballooning into the net off of his own forearm.

Jordan Pickford has been scrutinised on numerous occasions in recent years, but he's never let England down and is Southgate's undisputed number one. Based on this evidence, Ramsdale isn't likely to dislodge the Everton keeper ahead of the big kick-off in Qatar later this year.

John Stones

Harry Maguire was slammed for his display against Italy at the weekend, but it was John Stones' turn to struggle at Molineux.

Along with Harry Kane, Stones was badly at fault for Hungary's opener, although he did close to making amends at the other end of the pitch on a couple of occasions.

Stones has always had a mistake in his locker, but with Marc Guehi and Fikayo Tomori both bang in-form and breathing down his neck, the Manchester City ace could hardly have picked a worse time to drop a clanger. The Yorkshireman's night went from bad to worse when he was sent off for an incredibly harsh second booking late in the match.

Kalvin Phillips

Alongside Declan Rice, Kalvin Phillips was a key player during England's match to the Euro 2020 final last summer – but he looked completely lost without his midfield partner on Tuesday night.

Phillips was badly at fault for Hungary's second goal when England were chasing the game in the second half and failed to make any sort of impact in the middle of the park for England.

Rice has ensured he'll be one of the first names on Southgate's teamsheet in Qatar during this international break – but the same cannot be said for Phillips.

  • England Football Team
  • World Cup

Source: Read Full Article