PLAYER RATINGS: Kane, Sterling and Maguire answered the critics

PLAYER RATINGS: Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Jordan Henderson and Harry Maguire answered the critics with impressive displays as England ran riot against Albania

  • Harry Kane’s international ‘goal drought’ was ended by a perfect hat-trick
  • Harry Maguire’s early strike was almost cathartic after a troubled season 
  • Midfielder Jordan Henderson showed his England career is far from over

England captain Harry Kane plundered a hat-trick before half-time in a 5-0 hammering of sorry Albania at Wembley on Friday to all but guarantee his side’s spot in next year’s World Cup finals in Qatar. 

Two draws in their last three Group I matches for Gareth Southgate’s team had opened the door slightly ajar for chasing Poland in the qualification race, but Kane slammed it shut in memorable fashion. 

Defender Harry Maguire settled any early nerves with a ninth minute headed opener before Kane’s spree began when he headed in from close range in the 18th. With Albania in disarray Jordan Henderson weaved his way through to make it 3-0 before Kane powered in his second from a tight angle and then completed his fourth England hat-trick with a stunning overhead kick on the stroke of half-time. 

Sportsmail’s Sami Mokbel rated the players. 

England striker Harry Kane was back in the goals on Friday night with a perfect hat-trick

Jordan Pickford – Produced an excellent save to preserve England’s lead early on to show why he’s England’s undisputed No 1. 7

Kyle Walker – An early mistake that let in Uzuni aside, the Manchester City start cruised through this game with minimal fuss. 7

John Stones – Positioned in the heart of England’s back-three, the centre-half strolled through the night with ease. 7.5

Harry Maguire – His goal was almost cathartic after a troubled season. You sensed the weight lift off his shoulders. He’ll feel much better this morning. 8

The weight will have been lifted off Harry Maguire after his troubled start to the season

Reece James – What a start to the season the Chelsea star is having. Excellent at right-wing back again. A breath of fresh air. 8

Jordan Henderson – Laid Kane’s second on a plate and scored a fantastic goal of his own. His England career over? No chance. 8

Kalvin Phillips – Missed the last set of international fixtures through injury, and, unsurprisingly, England looked far stronger with him in the team. 7.5

Ben Chilwell – Continued his recent revival with another solid performance down England’s left side. More than capable in attack and diligent in defence. 7

Midfielder Jordan Henderson took his chance to show that he still has a lot to offer England

Phil Foden – Oozes class. A natural born footballer. Linked up decisively with James down England’s right side. 7.5

Harry Kane – His international ‘goal drought’ didn’t last long. A hat-trick on a promising night for the England captain… and Antonio Conte. 9

Raheem Sterling – The Albanias were clearly petrified of the Manchester City forward and it showed. How and why is he not playing regularly at club level? 8

England boss Gareth Southgate enjoyed a dream night amid talk of signing a new contract

Subs: Abraham 6 (Kane 63): Grealish 6.5 (Foden 63); Bellingham 6 (Phillips 63); Alexander-Arnold (James 77); Smith Rowe (Sterling 77)

Subs not used: Johnstone, Ramsdale, Mings, Coady, Saka

Gareth Southgate – On the day it emerged he is signing a new deal, last night could have gone horribly wrong for the England manager. It didn’t – his team were excellent. 8

ALBANIA (3-4-3)

Strakosha 4; Ismajli 5, Kumbulla 5 (Dermaku 17, 5), Veseli 5; Hysaj 5, Gjasula 5, Bare 5 (Laci 12), Trashi 5 (Mihaj 46); Uzuni 5.5 (Roshi,87), Cikalleshi 5, Bajrami 5 (Ramadani 46). 

Subs: Berisha, Selmani, Hoxhallari, Lenjani, Cekici, Mihaj, Balaj, Doka. 

Booked: Ismajli, Gjasula, Cikalleshi, Laci Reja

Referee: Ruddy Buquet (FRA)

A late replacement for ill German official Felix Zwayer, the Frenchman took firm control with two early Albanian bookings. 6.5

Att: 80,366




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