We’re starting to think Pep Guardiola might be a pretty good manager here at Dream Team.
It became clear why he had left Fabian Delph and John Stones out of the side for most of the title run-in as England made several defensive horror shows to hand the Netherlands a 3-1 win.
But there’s one thing that’s still puzzling, judging by his performance last night, how did Kyle Walker manage to retain his spot in that sumptuous City side?
On the whole England were outplayed by a born-again Holland team built on a possession game marshalled by Xavi-lite Frenkie De Jong and the rest of a dynamic midfield.
However, had it not been for a string of cases of ‘complete head loss’ on the edge of our own area, we might have at least made it to penalties.
And as we all know from that Colombia match, England are great at shootouts now.
On paper the inclusion of the title-winning side’s starting right back playing in England’s biggest match of the season is a no brainer, but in reality Walker’s performance only served to increase Trent Alexander-Arnold’s repuation.
In fact Trent is getting better just by having to watch Walker play.
After the Liverpool right back finished the season with the third highest Premier League assists and starred for his side winning the Champions League, he was understandably rested.
But watching Walker get dispossessed as a he tried to dribble past Memphis Depay to leave the Lyon man bearing down on goal was proof that Walker has become a mere placeholder for Alexander-Arnold in this side.
All seven of the players who featured in the Champions League final were rested by Gareth Southgate for the big semi, but it’s fair to say the man that was missed the most was Trent.
Jordan Henderson is an important presence in midfield, but with England unable to find the spaces through the middle, an out-and-out wing-back with pace and one of the best deliveries in the game could have been key to unlocking the Dutch defence.
Instead we were left to watch Stones and Ross Barkley pass the ball to orange shirts in our own area.
Walker ended the match with an unfortunate OG next to his name having tried to recover Stones’ bungled ‘Cruyff turn’, but on the whole it was clear just how much this side missed Alexander-Arnold’s presence down the right.
Going forward it’s fair to say that when TAA is fit he’ll be the starting right-back and even then Walker could be battling Aaron Wan-Bissaka for his place on the bench.