Raheem Sterling, Harry Kane, Harry Maguire and Declan Rice all found the net in the second-half as England were able to breakdown a defensive Hungary side to take control of their World Cup qualifying group
England took control of their World Cup qualifying group with a determined win over Hungary in Budapest.
The hosts set up to frustrate the Euro 2020 runners-up, playing for the first time since that Wembley night.
Gareth Southgate, who gave Jack Grealish a rare start, saw his side struggle to breakdown their opponents in what was a frustrating first-half.
England though were able to breach the Hungary defence three times in the space of 14 second-half minutes to take the game away from Hungary
Raheem Sterling’s smart finish opened the scoring before he turned provider for Harry Kane, who nodded home from close range.
The Three Lions begun expressing themselves as the game drew on and Harry Maguire’s header added a third before Declan Rice’s long range effort trickled under Péter Gulácsi to make it four.
Here are five talking points from Budapest.
1 Grealish’s vote of confidence
The most expensive British player of all time has certainly had to prove his worth to Southgate.
A start in Budapest though is proof that Grealish is firmly part of his manager’s plans.
There was a huge clamour to see the playmaker feature more regularly at the Euros, with many of his appearances coming from the bench.
Phil Foden’s absence through injury may have been a factor in Grealish’s inclusion, nevertheless it is a show of faith from his manager.
The frustration from the Manchester City star will be that he didn’t influence proceedings like he would’ve liked.
With two more games to come Grealish will hope he gets another opportunity to showcase his skillset.
2 Sterling produces… once more
His overall performances don’t always catch your eye, but oh so often it is the City winger who comes up with the goods.
On numerous occasions in the Euros it was Sterling finding the net in a 1-0 win.
That trend continued as he again found himself in the right place at the right time to put the visitors ahead.
For years at the Etihad Sterling has been the master of knowing where the ball will flash across goal – and, once more, he was well placed to tuck home Mason Mount’s cutback.
As frustrating as he can sometimes be, Sterling often deals in goals and his effort allowed England to take control.
3 A tough slog
I think we all know by now that England under Southgate is never going to take our breath away.
Free-flowing football a la Pep Guardiola is just not going to be on the menu.
Southgate’s approach has, first and foremost, been one that prioritises results.
Some of the wins at Euro 2020 were hardly groundbreaking, whether it’s Croatia or the Czech Republic.
A lack of creativity and ambition has, and probably will continue to be, levelled against Southgate.
But so often his team get the job done and they played the long game in Budapest – scoring four second-half goals.
4 Unsavoury scenes
Southgate had been keen not to talk too much about the Hungarian fans, instead calling on England to “get their own house in order”.
But some of the scenes at the Puskas Arena will certainly have caught his attention.
As has been the case before in England away games, when the Three Lions begin taking control of the scoreline the fans react.
The Hungarian crowd began by booing the knee and various other incidents were highlighted throughout the game.
There were allegations of racist chants directed at both Sterling and Jude Bellingham
5 Continuity is key
At least it is for Southgate.
Almost eight weeks on from England’s Euro 2020 final defeat to Italy and the Three Lions boss made just one change.
Often qualifiers present managers with a chance to experiment with their starting XI, perhaps trial an unknown player who has impressed in the early weeks of the season.
Southgate is clearly looking to build on the combination that served him so well in the summer.
Grealish came in for Keiran Trippier in what was the only change as preparation begins to the World Cup.
The England boss told his players that the hard work starts again, but clearly many of them have got credit in the bank.