5 things we learned from England's draw with Italy

Ruben Holloway
March 28, 2018

Just 90 minutes of worldwide football remains before the Three Lions' boss selects his travelling party, with Italy expected to prove a test sterner than their failure to qualify for this summer's finals might suggest.

Even though veteran players like Gianluigi Buffon, Leonardo Bonucci and Antonio Candreva are still in the squad, players like Daniele Rugani, Marco Verratti, Andrea Belotti and Lorenzo Insigne may well prove to be the stars of the future national team. It's one you can debate forever.

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For the Italians, who failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 60 years, the Wembley friendly will give interim coach Luigi di Biagio a chance to look at some youngsters, following last Friday's 2-0 friendly loss to Argentina.

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England coach Gareth Southgate says there are still World Cup places to play for as they prepare for their final game before he names his provisional squad for Russian Federation 2018. Played really well seeing as he wasn't in his normal position.

"You need to understand and we need to understand that Italy starts at - I'm not saying at zero but - not very far from zero".

"We have to allow this young team to go and perform, there are some super exciting young players".

Butland, 25, became England's youngest senior goalkeeper when he made his debut - also against Italy - at the age of 19 years and 158 days in 2012. I wanted to give him and Jordan a game each for the experience. I don't think we'll grow so fast. So patience is the key.

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"Let's look ahead, we have a national team of young people with no worldwide experience and these friendlies will be useful to grow and gain that experience. I will do all I can to lead this group of players".

He had a couple of chances but Gianluigi Donnarumma stopped them. "And it's motivation for us all", Butland said.

Admittedly Italy were in a tough group alongside Spain, but they still would have been expected to come Sweden in the playoffs.

Insigne dispatched the resulting spot-kick, much at the anguish and bemusement of the vast majority amongst the 82,598 crowd, who let the German officials know their feelings with a chorus of booing. We will be at home watching the World Cup on the telly rather than being there and playing.

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The same can no longer be said about Arsenal's Jack Wilshere who, although long touted as the answer to England's problems in midfield, is once again absent injured and appears to be too brittle for a major tournament.

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