Saturday 24 March 2018

Watch: Bruno Alves tried to decapitate Harry Kane last night

Portugal's Bruno Alves (right) commits a foul on England's Harry Kane for which he is sent-off during an International Friendly at Wembley last night
Portugal's Bruno Alves (right) commits a foul on England's Harry Kane for which he is sent-off during an International Friendly at Wembley last night

Rory Dollard

Gary Cahill admits England's final Euro 2016 warm-up against Portugal was derailed by Bruno Alves' first-half dismissal.

Roy Hodgson's side left Wembley with a 1-0 win on Thursday, courtesy of Chris Smalling's late header, but it was far from a satisfactory send off.

England were flat in attack as a front three of Wayne Rooney, Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy failed to gel, while the dangerous Dele Alli was pushed to the periphery too often.

Alves' 36th-minute red card, having kicked Kane in the head challenging recklessly for the ball, sucked further life from the game as the visitors dropped deep to cover their disadvantage.

Chelsea defender Cahill accepts it was not the perfect workout.

"Did it spoil the game as a friendly? Maybe," he said of Alves' exit.

"We had to adapt to two different situations but against 11 I thought we did well, got on the front foot in the game and limited them to few chances.

"Maybe we could have moved the ball a bit quicker but we showed patience and got the result in the end."

There is undoubtedly work to do on the training field, particularly on personnel and formation.

The diamond shape Hodgson rolled out against Portugal did not seem a happy fit for the 11 selected and something - or someone - may have to give before the Russia match on June 11.

How best to balance to forward options is the manager's main issue now, particularly with Daniel Sturridge and Marcus Rashford also to consider, but Cahill believes the group are ready and willing to adapt.

"I like the fact we have a young squad and everybody wants to learn and take things on board," he said.

"Whether it's players telling each things or the manager, there's never any arguments and everybody is trying to learn and improve. "There's no egos there, we're all working hard to buy into the philosophy and style of play.

"We'll be judged on what we do in France. The last couple of years have gone well, we're in a good place, but it all comes down to the tournament."

Midfielder Jack Wilshere played a part in all three preparation matches, matching his tally of appearances in an injury-ruined domestic campaign for Arsenal.

He came off the bench at Wembley and caught the eye with some neat touches in the centre.

Increasingly, he seems a likely starter in the group stages.

"It's great to be back in an England shirt and back in the set-up," he told FATV.

"I feel as each game has gone on I've got better and sharper and used to the way we play with England again.

"I feel ready now. Of course I haven't played a lot of football this season but the manager kept faith in me and I'm thankful for that.

"It's down to me to show him I'm fit and show him I'm still the same player and that I'm ready to play for England."

Press Association

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