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PLAYER RATINGS: Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Jordan Henderson and Harry Maguire responded to criticism

PLAYER RATINGS: Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Jordan Henderson and Harry Maguire responded to critics with impressive displays as England rampaged against Albania.







England captain Harry Kane scored a hat-trick before half-time in a 5-0 thrashing of sad Albania at Wembley on Friday to guarantee his team’s place in the World Cup finals. next year in Qatar.

Two draws in their last three Group I matches for Gareth Southgate’s team had opened the door a bit to chase Poland into the qualifying race, but Kane slammed it shut in memorable fashion.

Defender Harry Maguire soothed early nerves with a first headed goal in the ninth minute before Kane’s spree began when he headed from close range in the 18th minute. With Albania in disarray, Jordan Henderson fought his way to make it 3- 0 before Kane drove in his second from a tight angle and then completed his fourth hat-trick for England with an impressive overhead kick at the edge of the break.

Sportsmail’s Sami Mokbel rated the players.

ENGLAND (3-4-3)

Jordan Pickford – He made an excellent save to preserve England’s lead early on and show why he is England’s undisputed No.1.

Kyle Walker – An early mistake that put Uzuni aside, Manchester City started this game with minimal fuss. 7

John Stones – Located in the heart of England’s three defenders, the central midfielder walked the night with ease. 7.5

Harry Maguire – His goal was almost cathartic after a turbulent season. You felt the weight lift off your shoulders. You will feel much better this morning. 8

Reece James – What a start to the season the Chelsea star is having. Excellent on the right side again. A breath of fresh air. 8

Jordan Henderson – Placed Kane’s second on a plate and scored a fantastic goal. Is your career in England over? No possibility. 8

Kalvin Phillips – He missed the last set of international matches through injury and, unsurprisingly, England looked much stronger with him on the team. 7.5

Ben Chilwell – He continued his recent resurgence with another strong performance for England’s left side. More than capable in attack and diligent in defense. 7

Phil Foden – Snot class. A born footballer. Decisively linked with James on the right side of England. 7.5

Harry Kane – His international ‘goal drought’ didn’t last long. A hat-trick on a promising night for the England captain… and Antonio Conte. 9

Raheem Sterling – The Albanians were clearly petrified of the Manchester City forward and it showed. How and why don’t you play regularly at club level? 8

Subs: Abraham 6 (Kane 63): Grealish 6.5 (Foden 63); Bellingham 6 (Phillips 63); Alexander-Arnold (James 77); Smith Rowe (sterling 77)

Unused Subs: Johnstone, Ramsdale, Mings, Coady, Saka

Gareth Southgate – The day it became known he was going to sign a new contract, last night could have gone terribly wrong for the England manager. It was not like that, his team was excellent. 8

ALBANIA (3-4-3)

Strakosha 4; Ismajli 5, Kumbulla 5 (Dermaku 17, 5), Veseli 5; Hysaj 5, Gjasula 5, Bare 5 (Laci 12), Trashi 5 (Mihaj 46); Uzuni 5.5 (Roshi, 87), Cikalleshi 5, Bajrami 5 (Ramadani 46).

Subs: Berisha, Selmani, Hoxhallari, Lenjani, Cekici, Mihaj, Balaj, Doka.

Admonished: Ismajli, Gjasula, Cikalleshi, Laci Reja

Referee: Ruddy Buquet (FRA)

As a late replacement for the ailing German officer Felix Zwayer, the Frenchman took firm control with two first Albanian reserves. 6.5

Att: 80,366