England vs Wales a farce amid Covid-19, social distancing and hectic calendar

To most people this kickabout between neighbours felt hugely inappropriate and needless in the circumstances.

Here we are living in a world of social distancing – and someone decided it was sensible for Wales to nip round to England's place for a game in which just the bragging rights were at stake.

The nation is on its knees due to Covid-19 but what the heck, if a group of lads who live next door to each other want to get together then what harm can it do?

Never mind that there were no fans there to see it, or that the football calendar is already fit to bursting.

That our best players faced burnout ahead of the Euros, or that this match preceded two more in the space of four days that actually counted for something.

Or that Jack Grealish started the match with hefty strapping on his hamstring and appeared to be labouring long before half time.

As one sage on social media pointed out, nothing quite beats a pointless international friendly to interrupt an exciting start to the Premier League season.

Wouldn't it have made more sense for Gareth Southgate to have staged a training camp at St George's Park instead?

What was he hoping to learn from a game against a Wales side that didn't even have Gareth Bale in their ranks to test England's inexperienced defence to the limit?

Southgate's starting XI smacked of this being an audition, because the man who chose the team had won more England caps himself than the whole of the team he sent out had put together.

All of those who kicked off had made more appearances in the Football League than the Premier League and was the least experienced England side in 44 years.

It was a timely reminder to the Premier League at a time when bailout talks continue, that the EFL is where future stars are made.

This isn't Southgate's problem. What is his problem is finding players to fill the gaps that still remain in his squad ahead of next summer's assault on Europe.

The first half will have left Southgate wishing he could have adopted a couple of the Welsh lads and, most notably, Jonny Williams.

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The man from League One ran England's midfield ragged at times – and on one occasion left two of his rivals looking like tailors dummies with a sublime one of his own.

Kalvin Phillips and Harry Winks were not alone in looking pedestrian, though, as Southgate's head started to fill itself with more questions than answers.

Experiments are carried out to determine something, so what did Southgate learn from this one?

He discovered Dominic Calvert-Lewin can't stop scoring goals and would have a genuine future at this level if it wasn't for Harry Kane and that Conor Coady is maturing into a defensive leader.

That Grealish can bring something different to England's attacking and creative options. That Danny Ings looks like a square peg in a round hole when played out of position – and that we still don't know what the best position will be for rising Arsenal sensation Bukayo Saka.

But the most significant impact of this game might just prove to be the fact that it told us more about those who were not even here.

Southgate has some big decisions to make between now and naming his final squad for the Euros, but most of those sat on the bench or resting up at home have little or nothing to fear.

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