Ross Barkley hits double as England blast five past Montenegro

By the time they had finished it seemed barely believable that there was a brief while when England looked in danger of losing a qualifying match for the first time in nearly 10 years. Only brief, mind. Gareth Southgate’s players quickly shook their heads clear and set about reminding England’s followers why they can trust this team in a way that scarcely felt possible not too long ago.

It was certainly a profitable night for Callum Hudson-Odoi who left the impression, at the age of 18, that he seems to find it rather bewildering that anyone might think a few butterflies might creep in on the occasion of his first England start. This is a man – well, boy, really – who seems immune to stage-fright. His contribution included the decisive part in England’s second goal and when a teenage debutant can flourish this way it is just another reason to think positively about Southgate’s ongoing work.

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