An inexperienced England side studded with debutantes held Germany to a goalless draw at Wembley on Friday night in the first of a double-header of international friendlies.
Both starting XIs shared an average age of 24.5 but the German side boasted almost three times the amount of total international caps (301) than that of their English counterparts (112).
Jordan Pickford, Tammy Abraham, Joe Gomez and Jack Cork all made their bows by the end of the evening, but it was Ruben Loftus-Cheek who perhaps made the most impressive contribution on his first ever England senior start.
The Crystal Palace midfielder, finally free of his Chelsea shackles, put in a mature shift in the centre, passing calmly and accurately, carrying the ball with poise and even popping off a double nutmeg at one point…
Just by way of interesting contrast, Joshua Kimmich is a little over a year older than Loftus-Cheek and has now played the full 90 minutes in 24-straight outings for Germany.
Anyway, the visitors impressed in the first-half, with Mesut Ozil influential from a deep midfield role alongside the tireless Ilkay Gündogan.
Carrying on from where he left of with Everton, Pickford was kept busy in the England goal, making a couple of vital saves from Timo Werner.
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Phil Jones’ evening then came to an abrupt halt midway through the first period, with the Manchester United defender once again forced off by injury.
That afforded a premature maiden appearance to Gomez, who came on in his place.
After the break, England began to impose themselves and even mustered a flurry of shots on the German goal.
As confidence began to swell, Jamie Vardy tested Marc-Andre ter Stegen with a decent downward header, only for the Barcelona goalkeeper to palm it clear…
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Late on, Jack Cork became England’s fifth debutant of the game, the Burnley midfielder emerging from the bench to replace Jake Livermore for the last five minutes.
Though fairly entertaining, the game would eventually end in stalemate, with Southgate no doubt pleased at the level of performances given by some of his younger players, particularly Pickford and Loftus-Cheek – both of whom look poised and set to add a fair wodge of further caps to their tallies in the future.