Jack Grealish stars and Ollie Watkins deserved his goal for England

PLAYER RATINGS: Jack Grealish stars and Ollie Watkins deserved his goal… but Levi Colwill endures a tough debut as England beat Australia in drab friendly

  • Jack Grealish was the star of the show for a less than dominant England side
  • Re-live all the action as it happened at Wembley on Friday as England won 1-0 
  • Listen to the latest episode of Mail Sport’s podcast ‘It’s All Kicking Off!’ 

England took on Australia on Friday evening at Wembley, although the Three Lions struggled to make their billing as favourites show despite running out 1-0 winners.

The game was overshadowed by debate as to how the ongoing situation in Israel might be commemorated on the night, with the Wembley arches notably not illuminated in blue and white. 

Ollie Watkins scored the only goal of the night in far from glittering fashion in a game that – although had nothing riding on it – saw England fail to entertain the home crowd. 

The Three Lions will however be in action on Tuesday against Italy, in their sixth of eight European Championship qualifiers, having beaten the Azzurri in Naples already.  

But who impressed most for both sides? Here Mail Sport’s Rob Draper and Ollie Lewis take you through who had a night to remember, and who will be left knowing they could have given more. 

England secured a 1-0 win despite an under-whelming showing and will face Italy next on Tuesday

The Wembley arch was not lit up on Friday night, as the FA opted not to light it up in the colours of the Israel flag

An Israel flag was spotted inside Wembley on Friday night, with security pictured approaching the man holding up the flag

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England – 4-2-3-1

Sam Johnstone 7

Had more to do than he might have expected but solid and fine save from shot that deflected off Tomori.

Trent Alexander Arnold 7

Did his John Stones tribute act by stepping into midfield from right back –extraordinary pass to Grealish to set up Watkins goal.

Fikayo Tomori 6

Never truly convinced in a nervous back four but showed great pace. Taken off on 61.

Lewis Dunk 7

Great block on the line to save England and Johnstone from Strain and stood out in struggling back four.

Levi Colwill 5.5

Struggled at left back, got too easily turned on 44 minutes for the Strain shot that should have been 1-0.

AC Milan defender Fikayo Tomori never really convinced but did show his great pace

Levi Colwill (left) struggled at left back while former Brighton team-mate Lewis Dunk thrived at the heart of a shaky back four

Conor Gallagher 6.5

Energetic, diligent and lovely combinations with Bowen especially for early Watkins chance.

Jordan Henderson 6

Booed off – presumably for Saudi links rather than play – but never more than steady.

Jarrod Bowen 6.5

Great links with Gallagher, didn’t see enough of his running in behind but always willing.

James Maddison 7

Most memorable moment? Undoubtedly the slip and shot that ended up as throw in. Some lovely through balls and creativity but not a dominant performance.

Jack Grealish 7.5

Impish and joyful, superb take down and assist for goal and some lovely flicks and passes.

Jack Grealish was England’s best player on the pitch and gave a superb assist for the only goal

James Maddison (centre) played a number of cutting through balls but was far from his creative best

Ollie Watkins 7

Got his goal and deserved it. Struggled with Aussie high line, forced wide when he hit the post but ran all night.


Kalvin Phillips 6 for Gallagher 61

John Stones 6.5 for Tomori 61

Marcus Rashford 6 for Grealish 61

Kieran Trippier 6 for Henderson 61

Eddie Nketiah 6 for Watkins 72

Phil Foden 6 for Maddison 72

Gareth Southgate 6

Alexander-Arnold experiment was interesting but not much else. No-one did enough to demand first team selection

Ref Stephanie Frappart 7

No major issues. Spate of yellow cards before half time but all deserved by the book

Ollie Watkins was well worth his goal for the hosts on a night when he at times struggled when forced wide

Australia – 4-4-1-1 

Matt Ryan 6

Used all of his experience to push Watkins wide and force the Villa man to hit the post from a tight angle and could not be blamed for England’s opener. Showed good composure on the ball when receiving shaky passes from his teammates.

Ryan Strain 4

Failed to clear a wicked Trent Alexander-Arnold delivery that led to Ollie Watkins’ opener.

Will surely still be thinking about that tame right-footed effort in the first half that would have hit the back of the net with more power, but was eventually cleared off the line by Lewis Dunk.

Harry Souttar 7

Emulated his titanic World Cup performances under Wembley’s famous arch, but will be kicking himself for not tracking Watkins’ run for the first goal.

Leicester’s Harry Souttar emulated his fine World Cup performances under the Wembley arch

Cameron Burgess 7

Risked turning the ball into his own net from Jack Grealish’s assist for Watkins and could do nothing about James Maddison’s perfectly executed through ball for Watkins’ golden first half opportunity. Otherwise an assured performance.

Kye Rowles 5

Asked to play out of position at left back and certainly didn’t look comfortable on that flank. Opened up by Jarrod Bowen and Conor Gallagher down the left for the first major chance of the game, but made himself a nuisance in the opposition box from two set pieces.

Keanu Baccus 6

Challenged Sam Johnstone with a rasping right-footed effort that was tipped around the post and started the move that resulted in Strain’s cleared effort off the line. A busy performance.

Jackson Irvine 7

He earned rave reviews from Casemiro at the FIFA awards last year and emulated the Brazilian at the base of Australia’s midfield, breaking up play well and getting the better of Conor Gallagher – who was fortunate to escape a booking for a studs-up challenge on him in the first half.

Jackson Irvine was reminiscent of Casemiro at the base of the Australia midfield on Friday

Connor Metcalfe 6

Hustled well in Australia’s midfield and stuck to his task with aplomb, but should have directed his header on target from Boyle’s corner, hitting the outside of the post instead.

Martin Boyle 7

Showed why he’s such an integral part of the Socceroos squad with a workmanlike performance. Held the ball up superbly before teeing up Strain’s wonderful opportunity and set up Duke’s volleyed effort.

Mitch Duke 6

Ought to have tested Johnstone with his effort from a Boyle cross but applied himself well as Australia’s lone striker.

Craig Goodwin 8

Sent Trent Alexander-Arnold to the shops for milk with a sumptuous turn to get his side up the field and caused England all sorts of problems with his wicked set pieces and tenacity in left midfield. Showed no signs of nerves on the big stage.

Graham Arnold 8

Cannot be accused of sending his charges onto the field without a clear game plan, but ultimately undone by one lapse. Plenty to be proud of.

Graham Arnold impressed after sending his side out with a clear game plan only to be undone by one momentary lapse


Brandon Borrello 6

Replaced the tireless Mitch Duke and posed an altogether different problem for England, causing Kieran Trippier to turn behind for a corner after a dangerous, jinking run into the box.

Awer Mabil 6

His direct running almost saw Australia grab a late equaliser, but his drilled cross was cleared away from Irvine at the last.

Jordan Bos, Lewis Miller, Aziz Behich N/A


It’s All Kicking Off is an exciting new podcast from Mail Sport that promises a different take on Premier League football.

It is available on MailOnline, Mail+, YouTube, Apple Music and Spotify.

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