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Shy Ruben Loftus-Cheek proves fascinating presence against Germany | Barney Ronay

Gareth Southgate’s young England side gave the world champions plenty to think about and with more experience the boys have potential to go on to better things

The kids are – sort of – all right. At times, perhaps even a little better than all right. Gareth Southgate has often been portrayed as a strikingly beige figure in his short England reign, an FA insider bringing with him all the chin-stroking touchline charisma of a friendly, doomed supply teacher who really hopes everyone will stop talking and listen to him discuss sedimentary rock patterns if he just stands here and frowns for a bit longer.

This, though, was a good moment for Southgate, and a bold one too. On a crisp, fun night at Wembley his enforced gamble was a success. The selection of the most inexperienced England team in 40 years to take on the world champions could have ended in disaster. Make no mistake, his was in its own way an astonishing selection. In Ruben Loftus-Cheek England had a No10 who has only ever started two league matches that his team has ended up winning. Both of them, oddly enough, against Aston Villa. England’s main creative thrust here, their pivot, their rainmaker came to Wembley with one league goal to his name.

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