CHRIS SUTTON: I feel for England debutant Patrick Bamford – a first start against Andorra was no birthday present for the Leeds striker, while Robert Lewandowski and Poland lie in wait for the Three Lions
- Bamford, 28 on the day of the game, waited too long for his first England match
- He likes space behind defenders but deep-lying Andorra did not offer him that
- Bayern Munich hotshot striker Lewandowski will provide a real test for England
I feel for Patrick Bamford. He waited a long time for this England bow. Too long, really, because I don’t think he should have waited until he turned 28 years old for this first cap.
In the end, Bamford’s Three Lions debut will go down as being fairly underwhelming. You might tell me he should have done better, given he was facing Andorra, the nation ranked 156th in the world and whose population you could squeeze inside Wembley Stadium.
But it isn’t easy for a striker when you’re facing a side like this. Bamford didn’t have a great deal of space to work with. He likes to peel behind centre halves for Leeds United but there was no chance of that against this Andorra team who, let’s be honest, showed zero intent in pushing up.
I felt sorry for England debutant Patrick Bamford (9) against Andorra at Wembley on Sunday
Playing such a deep defence was no birthday present for Bamford, 28, on the day of the game
If you listened to the game on BBC Radio 5 Live, you’d have heard occasional cheers during the first half. It wasn’t because of the football. It was because of fans who were getting giddy whenever a paper plane landed on the pitch.
When the supporters in the stands are having to create their own fun, that’s a sign of boredom, and that was largely down to Andorra merely trying to not lose by too many.
Bamford was removed after 62 minutes when England were only leading 1-0 and that showed Gareth Southgate’s ruthless side. He isn’t running a charity here. He’s in charge of the national team and he wants to win, so he replaced Bamford with Harry Kane.
Jack Grealish and Mason Mount were introduced at the same time and that changed the game. As Andorra tired, it got easier, and England finally secured the comfortable victory we expected.
England manager Gareth Southgate’s triple substitution on the hour showed his ruthlessness
Other than that, the use of Trent Alexander-Arnold in midfield was interesting, although he didn’t get on the ball too much during that first-half experiment.
Elsewhere, Jesse Lingard looked totally confident in an England shirt and I’m sure you were as thrilled as I was to see Bukayo Saka get his goal.
It was good for Southgate’s side to get a win at Wembley. This was their first time back here since the Euro 2020 final. Most of the squad won’t get over that loss. I lost the 2003 UEFA Cup final with Celtic and still think about it to this day. The only way to banish that disappointment is to try to go on and win a tournament in the future.
This was another step towards the 2022 World Cup. Next up, a much more difficult challenge against Poland.
Up next for England, Poland and star striker Robert Lewandowski (pictured) will be a tough test
Robert Lewandowski reminded Gareth Southgate’s side what awaits them on Wednesday as he struck twice in Poland’s 7-1 thrashing of San Marino last night.
Ahead of England’s trip to Warsaw this week, the Bayern Munich striker opened the scoring inside five minutes and added the third goal midway through the first half to move to 72 goals for his country.
He has scored in every game this season for Bayern and Poland, who conceded a rare San Marino goal in the second half to Nicola Nanni.