International Friendly, November 15 2016
Lallana (9 pen), Vardy (48)
Aspas (89), Isco (90+6)
Having been appointed England manager on a temporary basis in September 2016, Gareth Southgate led his new team to victories over Malta and Scotland, and a draw against Slovenia in his first three games in charge. Those three games came in qualification for the 2018 World Cup, but it was a friendly in his fourth match that provided his biggest test up to that point – when Spain visited Wembley.
Southgate's energetic team made a promising start when Jamie Vardy was brought down in the penalty area by Pepe Reina, before then-Liverpool midfielder Adam Lallana scored from the spot. Early in the second half Vardy headed in from Jordan Henderson’s cross to give England a convincing lead.
Theo Walcott missed a chance to extend England's lead, and Southgate's side were made to pay for their profligacy in the game's closing stages. After Iago Aspas scored with a curling effort in the 89th minute, Real Madrid's Isco scored a sucker punch of an equalising goal in the sixth minute of injury time.
England's impressive performance helped Southgate prove he was the right manager for the job on a permanent basis and he also learned valuable lessons that contributed to his team's success at the 2018 World Cup. Speaking exclusively to The Coaches’ Voice, he looks back on his approach to playing against a team of Spain's quality.
Author: Ali Tweedale