ENGLAND’s first match since their summer exploits in Russia ended in defeat as first-half goals from Saul Niguez and Rodrigo were enough to give the Spaniards their first victory in both sides’ first ever encounter in the inaugural Uefa Nations League.
Gareth Southgate’s men took the lead in what was an entertaining game at Wembley and one that didn’t disappoint in terms of talking points.
Luke Shaw, who was starting his first England game in three years, fed his club teammate Marcus Rashford with an inch-perfect cross which the forward dispatched past David De Gea to put the Three Lions ahead.
Unfortunately for Shaw, proceedings were curtailed earlier than anticipated after he suffered a head injury following a heavy collision with Dani Carvajal, so heavy that it warranted having a stretcher to carry him off.
Southgate confirmed after the game that the left-back was being monitored.
“He’s sat up in the dressing room and is talking in the dressing room, we’ll have to assess him some more overnight and tomorrow, but that’s definitely a good sign.”
Speaking on the game, he admitted his side were simply not on Spain’s level but was still pleased with the effort displayed.
“They [Spain] have wonderful players who can wriggle out of problems and play first-time out of situations and, at the moment, we’re not able to do that when teams are pressing us high.
“We finished very strongly, created a couple of very good chances, probably had as many shots on target as they have. So given where we’re at and we need those experiences to improve, I couldn’t ask any more of the players.”
Spain, meanwhile, were embarking on a new era under Luis Enrique following the shambles that hit them in the summer with Julen Lopetegui’s infamous dismissal and the subsequent shock exit at the hands of Russia, leaving a proud nation heaped in embarrassment.
Therefore it was important that Enrique got off to a good start and the former Barcelona manager was pleased with his side’s performance.
“It’s the best way to start, winning against England at Wembley, can’t think of a better start,” Enrique said.
“But football is about the present and this [result] is now in the past, we should be thinking about Croatia on Tuesday. But overall a great victory.”
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