Sheffield's Harry Maguire wins first England cap in Lithuania win

Harry Maguire became the 36th Sheffield-born footballer in history to be capped for England as Gareth Southgate's side ended their World Cup qualifying campaign with a lacklustre 1-0 win in Lithuania.

Sunday, 8th October 2017, 22:21 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 08:25 am
Harry Maguire speaks with England manager Gareth Southgate ahead of his first cap for his country

The former Sheffield United defender was handed a start in the dead-rubber match with qualification already assured for England.

It capped a brilliant year for the 24-year-old who earned a £17million switch to Leicester City from Hull City in the summer.

His national team debut came on another disappointing night for England.

Although they finished their fourth consecutive qualification campaign unbeaten, they also did so with another ponderous performance.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Southgate shouldered the responsibility for the dull win over Slovenia and hoped to make amends with an entertaining display against Lithuania, yet Harry Kane’s first-half penalty was the only moment to celebrate as England won 1-0 against the side ranked 120th in the world.

The main enjoyment for the travelling hordes were the struggles of old foes Scotland in Slovenia, while they resorted to gallows humour by likening England’s play to watching Brazil - next month’s opponents at Wembley after world champions Germany’s visit.

Those friendlies could make for grim viewing from an England perspective unless things drastically improve from this week, with captain Kane’s performances among few genuine positives.

The 24-year-old striker made it 15 goals in his last 10 matches for club and country by slotting home what proved to be the first-half winner after Dele Alli won a penalty.

Tottenham team-mate Harry Winks showed promise on his senior debut, but the three-man defence clearly needs work given by the number of times Jack Butland was worked as an unbeaten Group F campaign ended limply.

England’s travelling hordes gave polite applause at the end, with many fans still bedecked in ponchos as rain fell for the majority of the night in Vilnius.

Unfortunately, the Three Lions’ display was as drab as the weather in the first half as an experimental side dominated possession without the necessary bite.