Michael Keane and Jordan Pickford had an eventful evening down on the south coast as England prevailed 5-3 over Kosovo at St Mary's Stadium.
It was Keane's slip that led to the visitors taking a shock first-minute lead with the first of three goals that Pickford would have to pick out of his net but Gareth Southgate's men ultimately proved too strong.
The Everton centre-half was dealt a difficult pass from Ross Barkley that he simply delivered straight to Florent Muslija who played Berisha in to fire past Jordan Pickford with just 35 seconds on the clock.
Keane made amends just seven minutes later, however, winning the header from an England corner that set Raheem Sterling up to level the match.
Harry Kane then turned the match on its head by converting Sterling's ball to make it 2-1 and the home side extended their advantage when Mergim Vojvoda turned Jadon Sancho's cross past his own ‘keeper.
Sancho bagged his first senior goals for his country before the break, netting two more assists by Sterling in as many minutes just before half-time to give England a 5-1 lead at the interval.
Kosovo threatened to make a game of it when Berisha struck early in the second half and then pulled another back when Vedat Muriqi was brought down by Harry Maguire in the box and he scored from the penalty spot.
Elsewhere, Cenk Tosun hit two goals for Turkey in their 4-0 drubbing of Moldova, Gylfi Sigurdsson scored the first of Iceland's two goals in a 4-2 defeat in Albania and Lucas Digne played the full 90 minutes of France'e 3-0 victory over Andorra.
Alex Iwobi registered an assist as Nigeria drew 2-2 in a friendly with Ukraine and Moise Kean scored a penalty for Italy U21s as they beat Luxembourg 5-0..
Reader Comments (38)
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1 Posted 10/09/2019 at 19:33:41
However Lucas Digne is playing for France, so that get's the vote for me.
2 Posted 10/09/2019 at 21:30:53
Barclay has been dross all night, great at passing backwards, very poor going forwards. A real shame that he's never progressed.
3 Posted 10/09/2019 at 21:43:06
Credit to Kosovo, for their passing and movement, and for all Englands improvement under Southgate, they need to find midfielders who are comfortable in possession, because they never look like, they really enjoy having the ball?
4 Posted 10/09/2019 at 22:09:35
Try being American at this point in time. While we wait for our youngsters to come good, we're getting battered by the arch-enemy, and are about to get our butts handed to us tonight against Uruguay.
I'd kill for the "problems" England have presently. They'll give anyone a game on their day. Anyone.
We'd be lucky to beat freaking Small Caribbean Nation XYZ!
5 Posted 10/09/2019 at 22:12:13
Trent Alexander-Arnold caught out of position a few times and fell asleep when Kosovo got their second leaving RS teammate Henderson getting turned inside out.
Kosovo did well but are very poor defensively.
Referee was also very poor.
6 Posted 10/09/2019 at 22:16:11
He can obviously score in a system that is "right" for him – it just seems that we don't play that type of system.
7 Posted 10/09/2019 at 22:16:17
Compare this with the game Kosovo tried to play which was moving the ball quickly and quick forward passing between the lines. Yes, England won... but fuck me, it's hard to watch and even harder to enjoy.
8 Posted 11/09/2019 at 00:21:14
When do these blinkered biased red noses ever give up?
Keane gets all the flack while Harry £80M Maguire gets off with a stupid miskick and a bad challenge to give a penalty away.
I know Keane did not have a good game but to single him out was despicable.
9 Posted 11/09/2019 at 01:18:45
In terms of the sitting midfielder, I think Choudhury at Leicester is better than Rice, and Longstaff at Newcastle might be a better long-term option too - and they are probably still a decent way off being called up. Sadly it is a position we lack obvious candidates in - although with a fair wind maybe Delph will be back in the mix if he continues his form and fitness.
Keane - other than his glaring mistake prompted by a thoughtless pass from Barkley - did just about all right. Frustratingly hell almost certainly carry more of the can for the teams defensive fragility than the more fashionable (and at least equally culpable) Maguire and Alexander-Arnold. For me though, Rice is definitely the one who needs replacing.
10 Posted 11/09/2019 at 05:02:03
11 Posted 11/09/2019 at 09:45:01
No one doubts Cenk's ability in those situations, the problem is that he does not get these situations in the Premier League. Defences are not that open, he does not have that space, and he lacks the pace to get in behind. If he was a quick player, then he'd be fantastic. Sadly, the Premier League is just not for him.
12 Posted 11/09/2019 at 10:32:15
There will no doubt be a fall guy for this and it won't be the 80M Golden Boy who was at fault for 2 of the goals.
Re-Barkley – how he's occupying the # 10 role is purely based on his involvement in a Chelsea shirt – which will be removed as soon as they can reinforce in the Middle. He is not creative enough to warrant that shirt for England.
13 Posted 11/09/2019 at 10:38:06
If you look at the current squad and think who can grow into players who can win the league, then I'm afraid Keane is one who I would have serious doubts about. Whenever he plays international football he seems a lot more unassured. I would hope it's a confidence thing and that with more experience he can gain more confidence and grow.
He's a very solid player for a top 10 Premier League side, but there's doubts over whether he is good enough for a top 4 side.
14 Posted 11/09/2019 at 10:56:05
As for Keane, he did his main job well, winning defensive headers and tackles. Not as comfortable as Maguire bringing the ball out though, but that's why he cost £80M and Keane I'd probably valued at £45M.
Barkley hasn't improved since moving to Chelsea. That one run second half reminded me of his golden time in the early Martinez days, bustling through with pace and power, but then there was no end product. VAR wouldn't have given a pen.
Still, credit to Kosovo. Their coach said they would have a go and they did just that. I would love to have seen his half time talk. Shades of Mike Bassett if his reactions at in the first half were anything to go by.
15 Posted 11/09/2019 at 11:08:01
I am only concerned about how he plays for Everton.
16 Posted 11/09/2019 at 11:20:18
On a different tack, have you seen Cenk's first for Turkey last night? A gem, imagine if an England player had scored that one.
I've always rated his finishing and I still believe he will be a cracker for us if given the right service.
17 Posted 11/09/2019 at 12:54:25
18 Posted 11/09/2019 at 14:10:59
19 Posted 11/09/2019 at 15:30:45
Watching England has for a long time been like watching Everton. In the case of Everton, I've not been able to avoid the self-inflicted misery, because it's in my blood so to speak. But in the case of England, my rational mind takes over and stops me wasting time watching mediocrity.
I was with two mates walking in North Yorkshire at the weekend. One of them said he wanted to watch the England game, in a pub where the selection of beer wasn't great. There was another pub, with a better atmosphere and beer selection, but where the match wasn't on. Two of us preferred to go there. The mate who wanted to see the England game was outvoted. That pretty much reflects how crap England are to watch.
20 Posted 11/09/2019 at 15:44:30
But then so was Declan Rice's awful pass under no pressure whatsoever in midfield which launched the attack for their second goal, and Henderson's pathetic attempt to cut out the cross.
As was slabhead's poor attempt at a clearance, followed by a totally unnecessary foul to concede a penalty.
And then you have the manager who watches his team – 5-1 up at half-time – pulled back to 5-3 and being outplayed, doing nothing to change things until the last 10 minutes of the game.
The commentators and pundits kept saying what a great game it was. It wasn't. Kosovo's Kamikaze football in the first half was exposed time and time again. England thought they were on easy street in the second half and were so exceedingly boring and ineffective it was embarrassing.
All praise to Kosovo, but there was a lot wrong about that performance last night.
22 Posted 11/09/2019 at 15:46:31
Blame is easy sitting in a studio, but to be a believable respected pundit you have to leave your personal prejudices behind (ie, Sky Sports ) to become respected.
23 Posted 11/09/2019 at 15:50:09
I just want to see Keane and Pickford be great for Everton.
24 Posted 11/09/2019 at 16:03:02
Played in LA on the West Coast of the USA, the local KO time made that 4am Wednesday morning in the UK and even midnight for me in Brazil, but I loyally stayed up until 2am in the morning to watch it.
Brazil's opponents were Peru, who they beat twice in the summer Copa America - 5-0 in the group stage, 3-1 in the final. On Friday, Peru lost 1-0 to Ecuador and Brazil drew 2-2 with Colombia.
This morning, Peru won 1-0 with a goal five minutes from time to record only their 4th victory over Brazil in 40+ games.
My biggest concern is with Richarlison. He played nearly the full 90 against Colombia and 75 minutes last night. He gives absolutely everything on the pitch and I honestly doubt any other Brazilian matched the kms he covered in the two games.
It was also an extremely physical game – Peru were well up for it – and Richarlison was on the receiving end of some really, REALLY heavy challenges, but kept coming back for more.
Given that since the Wolves game Richarlison has flown first to Miami (at the time Hurricane Dorian was threatening), played against Colombia, travelled on to LA, played a very physical game against Peru on full throttle, and now flies back to England before travelling to Bournemouth on the weekend, it honestly wouldn't surprise me if he started from the bench rather the starting XI on Sunday.
I know players are heavily monitored now and I hope they are thorough on running tests on him on his return to Finch Farm, because he both expended a helluva lot of energy over the two games AND took a heavy battering, particularly last night.
His performance made a marked contrast to Firmino's who I remembered was actually on the pitch only when he was substituted on the hour mark.
Let's just say he could fold his shirt in its wrapper, send it back to Nike and they would refund him as it was unsoiled and unused.
Maybe Richarlison could learn something from Firmino: don't go busting a gut in a meaningless International friendly, rather, save something for your club at the weekend.
25 Posted 11/09/2019 at 16:25:49
26 Posted 11/09/2019 at 18:43:15
He'll never be a Premier League star, or even a starter, but I'm pleased he's still with us. Several months ago, during one of the transfer window debates, I predicted that if he wasn't sold off, he'd win us a couple of games this season with his heady (pun intended) play. And he already did once, with the intelligent assist on Iwobi's game-winner at Lincoln. Most players would have headed that ball towards goal, and into the keeper's hands. Cenk was wiser.
I won't be a bit surprised if he departs in January, but I think he'll gift us with a couple more goals at key moments before he does.
27 Posted 11/09/2019 at 20:26:09
As for Tosun, I think he could yet be a serious asset. Pending Kean's emergence, he is the best natural finisher we have. That may not be saying much but he is a clever player and he is no slower than, say, Giroud. We should see what can be done with him this season.
His attitude and commitment to the club, amid much derision, have always been exemplary. We owe him some support in return.
28 Posted 11/09/2019 at 20:58:04
29 Posted 11/09/2019 at 21:00:22
30 Posted 11/09/2019 at 21:12:15
31 Posted 11/09/2019 at 21:51:07
32 Posted 11/09/2019 at 22:09:38
Scholes still running the show; what a player he was.
33 Posted 11/09/2019 at 22:23:16
I said when we bought him that I hoped/believed he could play more centrally either as a 10 or even a more box to box 8. This is where he played for Nigeria and excelled doing so. Hes a really versatile and rounded player; think well come to relish him in time.
34 Posted 11/09/2019 at 22:31:14
This is what I wrote on another site:-
"I see Cenk got two for Turkey tonight and that Turkey seem to be doing quite well in the qualifiers.
He can clearly score when the system is right for him.
We, obviously, just don't play that system.
Pace of the game didn't seem too slow - but it was route 1 football.
Was amazed at Cenk's first time touch control for the flip over the goalkeeper off a dropping ball – might have been a lucky fluke... but looked good to me."
35 Posted 11/09/2019 at 23:15:46
Giroud actually has an incredible minutes per goal ratio in the Premier League, yet he has never been trusted to play week in week out at either Arsenal or Chelsea.
I wonder if given a proper run out in a decent creative team that Tosun could actually start banging them in. Harry Kane is hardly Speedy-Gonzales, but what he is, is an incredible finisher with good creative players in support.
Not many centre back pairings in the Premier League are particularly blessed with pace, so I'm just wondering if it is a bit of a myth that you need to be lightning quick to be a success in the centre forward role at this level.
Some of the quick forwards, their feet are too fast for their brains anyway!
36 Posted 12/09/2019 at 07:33:05
5-1 down but carry on playing good attacking football. Their touch, awareness and general play was very good and they just kept at it, no heads down, pointing the blame and falling out with each other.
They were not good enough on the night. Silly mistakes cost them. They know that but they kept the right attitude for 90+ mins.
Other than the 1st-minute error, Keane played well, his usual self. Always has a mistake in him but a good player.
He needed to avoid the risk and clear the ball. He paid the price for not taking command. That's the problem, his manager will say he tried to do the right thing. No, just defend and clear the danger in them situations.
As for Barkley, I thought along with Sterling he had a good game. Yes, he shouldn't pass back so much but he's the only other player that would turn and get past players. His general passing and threat was always good. He even ran 25 yards back and made a good sliding tackle. Now that's a first.
37 Posted 12/09/2019 at 13:06:08
Don't know if the referees would allow that 'bolt through the neck thing though'!
Maybe, just maybe, those goals of his, have not gone un-noticed, and may just accelerate a move in the January window, and net us a decent fee towards our next piece of the jig-saw.
38 Posted 13/09/2019 at 20:18:58
Can anyone tell me how Danny Mills has emerged as the go-to authority on all things Everton? He seems to believe he has the inside track on most things concerning our club. He is now doling out advice to Tom Davies as to where he should ply his trade.
I seem to think he may have an offspring at the Academy, never heard of him! Does that even qualify Mills Senior to pontificate about our club, or is he now Everton's appointed oracle/ mouthpiece, job sharing with Jim White?
39 Posted 13/09/2019 at 21:20:19
I was thinking the very same thing myself. Just because his son is at the academy, he seems to think it gives him carte blanche to mouth off at every opportunity.
He needs to shut the fuck up, especially when he's encouraging the likes of Tom to leave the club.
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