5 questions Gareth Southgate must answer after England’s 4-0 win over Hungary

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England cruised to a comprehensive 4-0 win over Hungary to kick off their World Cup Qualifying campaign on Thursday night.

Goals from Raheem Sterling, Harry Kane, Harry Maguire and Declan Rice were enough to dispatch their hosts on a hostile night in the Puskas Arena.

England's second half flurry was the perfect antidote to a dire first half where the visitors struggled to break down a resolute Hungary side – as they failed to record a single shot on target.

Sterling finally broke the deadlock in the 55th minute with a neat finish from Mason Mount's cutback before Kane nodded home a second just eight minutes later.

Maguire headed home from a 68th minute corner before Rice drove home three minutes from time to wrap up a comfortable win.

Here, Daily Star Sport takes a look at five questions England boss Gareth Southgate must answer in the wake of England's win.


1) Is Jack Grealish now first-choice?

Jack Grealish made just his third international start during England's clash with Hungary.

The 25-year-old played a key part in the move for the Three Lions' opening goal when he played in Mount to tee up Sterling.

Part of the reasoning behind Grealish's decision to leave his boyhood club Aston Villa for Manchester City in a record £100m deal was his desire to feature more prominently for his country.

Southgate deployed the dazzling ace on the left-hand side of a fluid three-pronged attack and was at the heart of the majority of England's positive play.

Grealish was on plenty of billboards for England prior to the Euros but didn't actually get much time on the pitch – it's probably a safe bet that his inclusion from the start on Thursday night is a sign of things to come following his move to the Etihad.

2) Right-back race

What did you make of England's 4-0 win over Hungary? Comment below

Much was made of Southgate's call to name four right-backs in his provisional squad for Euro 2020 in the summer.

Kyle Walker got the nod to start against Hungary and put in a composed display.

But how much longer can Southgate ignore Trent Alexander-Arnold?

The Liverpool full-back has had the bit between his teeth ever since he was omitted from England's streamlined final squad for the Euros and has started the season on fire for his club.

The 22-year-old has created 15 chances from right-back for Liverpool in the Premier League this season – five more than any other player.

Quality and creativity from the full-backs are key in Southgate's preferred England set-up, and it feels as though Alexander-Arnold is better suited for that slot than Walker.

3) The central conundrum

Despite a promising tournament together, there are still question marks over the pairing of Kalvin Phillips and Declan Rice in central midfield.

Roy Keane gave his verdict on the pair during the pre-match discussions on ITV.

"You still have to be looking for improvements in your team and if you’re being critical of England you’d look at the lads in the middle of the park, Rice and Phillips, have they got that creativity?

"But in fairness, they had really good tournaments and you have to look at the positives. With the attacking players England still had high up the pitch, I think they sacrificed that to go with them two lads."

He may have had a point too as England failed to find the spark to break down a resolute Hungary in a goalless first half, although Rice and Phillips did impress in the second half – with Rice even getting on the scoresheet.

It's definitely a point for Southgate to ponder though as the 2022 World Cup begins to nudge closer.

4) Where do United pair fit in?

Manchester United duo Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho missed out on the trip to Hungary through injury, but both now face a fight to muscle in on a starting berth in England's attack.

The pair were introduced from the bench late on in England's Euro 2020 final defeat to Italy.

But with Grealish impressing and Sterling picking up where he left off in front of goal in the summer, it looks a big ask for either Rashford or Sancho to break back into Southgate's starting XI when they return to fitness.

There's an outside chance Sancho may be fit enough to feature briefly against Andorra on Sunday.

5) Will Jesse Lingard ever play for England again?

Jesse Lingard defied the odds by forcing his way back into Southgate's England squad last term.

Lingard impressed during a temporary spell at West Ham last season, notching nine goals in 16 Premier League games.

The 28-year-old failed to secure a move on deadline day and looks set for a season of frustration on the sidelines at Old Trafford.

With the prospect of no football at club level, it looks likely that Lingard's prospects of featuring in England squads again the near future are pretty much zero.

It's not out of the question that his 85th minute introduction for a cameo role could well be his final appearance in an England shirt.

  • Gareth Southgate
  • England Football Team

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