Spain give England post-World Cup reality check with Nations League win

Alex McCarthy

Saul Niguez did not play at the World Cup but was handed a starting berth at Wembley and duly responded with a goal, whilst Iago Aspas also started in London but could be replaced by Alvaro Morata after an ineffectual performance.

Harry Kane will be left out of England's friendly against Switzerland because Gareth Southgate fears the World Cup Golden Boot victor is in danger of suffering burnout and that, in the modern football world, it is for the national team to provide that rest rather than the player's club.

Despite the "bottler" jibe from Harry Kane, Gareth Southgate must have feared the homecoming might turn out this way, with a slap in the face to shrug England out of all the giddiness of their World Cup's exploits. Jesse Lingard then opened up play with a delightful flick before Jordan Henderson and Harry Kane got involved to spread the ball to the left flank.

It's not the typical match-up you would expect to be highlighted ahead of an England game, especially with the Premier League stars that will be gracing the pitch, but the battle of the full backs might well decide the outcome of the match. And once again in a competitive fixture, England failed to beat a team regarded as one of the major nations.

"It was a good game, a real test against a team who keep the ball really well", Kane said. Shaw connected with a header as he challenged Dani Carvajal for the ball but collided with the Spain defender, fell backward and his head bounced off the ground. We can see there's a few players around our squad that have the ability to do that but Spain have had a production line for a long period of time.

"We aren't able to do that when teams press high against us yet".

Winning his first game in charge against England gives Luis Enrique a flawless start, and even with the recent retirements of Andres Iniesta, Gerard Pique and David Silva, he still has great quality to work with.

"This was a ideal night, the team picked up a huge victory and we saw a very impressive Spain side", said Saul.

"At the moment we have had initial discussions but that has been it".

He said De Gea told him that he was fouled for Welbeck's disallowed effort. "I think it's the right thing to focus on the job, and I'm sure, as and when there's anything to update, we will do that".

The match was halted for almost five minutes soon after the restart when England defender Shaw went down after a collision with Dani Carvajal and had to be stretchered off the field.

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