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Five things we learned from England v San Marino

| 10.10.2014

As ever, any conclusions drawn from England’s 5-0 win over San Marino have to be lathered in fistfuls of salt, as a good or bad performance against La Serenissima means little in the wider context of international football. 

However, some players will be more pleased than others with their evening’s work, and Roy Hodgson might have had his mind changed about his side for Estonia.

England are 7/10 to win to nil in Tallinn and extend their perfect record thus far in Group E.

The case for dropping Wayne Rooney won’t go away

England’s captain scored from the spot against San Marino to move to 42 goals for his country, just eight off the overall record, but it wasn’t a great night for Rooney at Wembley.

The Manchester Untied striker fired off a colossal 13 shots in total and should really have notched at least a hat trick. Rooney also looked like more of an impediment to England’s attacking player than an aid at times.

Jack Wilshere is the Three Lions’ best passer

The Arsenal midfielder did not have a faultless night, but Wilshere has more vision than any other England player and, crucially, also has the ability to pull off the eye of the needles passes he sees.

In a qualifying campaign where England will routinely face packed defences, Wilshere will be vital to breaking sides down.

England work better with James Milner in the side

This shouldn’t have been a game where Milner was able to impress in the centre of the park, with San Marino rarely escaping their own half, but the Manchester City man demonstrated that whoever England play he can be an important cog.

Milner created nine chances, the most of anyone on the pitch, and made three tackles. Most importantly he freed Wilshere and Jordan Henderson of most of their defensive duties.

Only one of Arsenal’s full-backs is ready for the international stage

Calum Chambers’ recent elevation from Southampton back-up to Arsenal and England starter has been dramatic, but he struggled against San Marino and Nathaniel Clyne will surely replace him against Estonia.

However, Keiran Gibbs’ fine display suggests that Leighton Baines is not a shoo-in to start at Euro 2016.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain deserves to start more matches

Oxlade-Chamberlain has routinely impressed for both club and country when on the pitch, and he registered two assists last night after coming on at half-time.

The midfielder is still only 21 and has plenty of time to develop, but consistently being benched for England and Arsenal is not helping his progress, and he merits more starts.

All odds and markets correct as of the date of publishing

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Alex Fortune