England v Brazil talking points: Endrick makes history, Foden struggles

Three Lions beaten at Wembley in game that leaves Gareth Southgate with much to ponder ahead of this summer's Euros in Germany

Powered by automated translation

Brazil's new coach Dorival Junior started his quest to revive the five-time world champions with a 1-0 win against England at Wembley on Saturday night as teenage sensation Endrick scored his first international goal.

Coming off their worst run for more than 60 years, Brazil have turned to Dorival Junior after being snubbed by Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti.

This victory was a timely boost for the Selecao.

England, meanwhile, can only view this as a setback as they head towards Euro 2024. Very few of their fringe players did much to impress, while it was also an off night for some of their more established performers.

Endrick – remember the name

On a night when Brazil hope to have turned a corner, it was fitting that Endrick – perhaps their brightest hope for the future – grabbed the winner.

The Palmeiras forward, 17, is set to join Real Madrid in July and has been dubbed the new Neymar. His match-winning display will no doubt send the hype into overdrive. Endrick seized his moment in the 80th minute when the teenager tapped in after Vinicius Junior's initial shot was saved by Jordan Pickford.

At just 17 years and 246 days, Endrick is the youngest senior international scorer at Wembley. He is also the youngest player to score for Brazil since Ronaldo in 1994.

In fact, his goal came on the 30th anniversary of Ronaldo’s Brazil debut and Endrick showed remarkable maturity after the game, paying tribute to England icon Sir Bobby Charlton, who passed away last October.

“A guy who is an idol here is also Bobby Charlton, playing in the stadium that Bobby played, scoring on the day Ronaldo debuted. These are very important memories for me,” said Endrick.

No Kane, no goals for England’s misfiring attack

With Harry Kane sidelined by an ankle injury, this was a great chance for Ollie Watkins to cement his place in the squad. Watkins has been both a prolific scorer and a creative force for Aston Villa this season, but he struggled to make an impact at Wembley.

Watkins was thwarted by some last-ditch defending in the first half when the ball took a small deflection before reaching him as he blazed over a decent chance. Otherwise, though, he huffed and puffed on the fringes of the game. Ivan Toney is now likely to get his chance to impress against Belgium on Tuesday.

Anthony Gordon showed some promise on the left of the England attack while Phil Foden was largely anonymous. Apart from Jude Bellingham occasionally looking like he might beat Brazil on his own, it was a poor showing by England’s attacking players and underscored again that they will need a fit and firing Kane if they are to achieve anything this summer.

Defensive concerns for the Three Lions

At the other end of the pitch, there were also alarm bells for England fans. With all due respect to the players, it must be concerning that a few months out from a major tournament they finished a high-profile game with a back four containing Lewis Dunk, Joe Gomez and Ezri Konsa.

When everyone is fit the right-back spot should not be a problem, but there seems a dearth of quality beyond starting centre-backs John Stones and Harry Maguire. Everton youngster Jarrad Branthwaite has earned a chance to impress and could ease concerns with an assured debut if given the opportunity against Belgium.

Perhaps the biggest problem, however, is at left-back. First-choice Luke Shaw was absent and has what could be described as a patchy fitness record, while understudy Ben Chilwell was poor at Wembley, as he has been for most of the season at Chelsea.

He will cost a Paqueta

If ever there was a symbol of the financial advantages enjoyed by the Premier League, then it would be West Ham’s Lucas Paqueta running the midfield for Brazil.

Yes, the 26-year-old might have been sent off in the first half for repeatedly fouling Bellingham but his class was clear to see. The same goes for his midfield partner Bruno Guimaraes, with the pair providing quality and aggression in equal measure.

With Newcastle likely to have to sell an asset to satisfy Financial Fair Play rules, it would be fair to suggest that both Paqueta and Guimaraes will feature highly on the shortlists of wealthy Champions League clubs this summer.

Struggling Foden evokes memories of Scholes

Watching Foden’s struggles with the national team is reminiscent of another diminutive creative midfielder from the other side of Manchester.

United legend Paul Scholes never really replicated his club form with the Three Lions, so much so that he retired from international football aged just 29, having won 66 caps.

Foden, described by club manager Pep Guardiola as the best player in the Premier League, is having similar struggles producing his best with England. Ok, so with City he plays alongside Bernardo Silva and Kevin De Bruyne, but the drop off in performance is quite staggering. This in turn reflects badly on boss Gareth Southgate, whose system and tactical direction is at present failing to get the best out of one of England’s brightest talents.

Updated: March 25, 2024, 8:00 PM