England returned to Wembley for the first time since the Euro 2020 final but came up against a dogged Andorra side and only pulled away when Harry Kane and co arrived from the bench
It was billed as something of a homecoming party for the England team.
But it never really got going until the big guns arrived and helped liven things up with a late goal rush as if they were playing a few tunes to get everyone back on the dance floor at the end of the night.
Jesse Lingard was the best story of the match as he scored twice – his first goals for England in 1,022 days since November 2018 against Croatia – and provided a late assist for Bukayo Saka to get in on the act and score on his 20th birthday.
Harry Kane came on with Jack Grealish and Mason Mount as 62nd minute substitutes to lift the performance and, predictably, Kane got his obligatory goal from the penalty spot to make it 40 goals in 63 caps which is a sensational return.
Grealish made things happen, his tricky feet bamboozled a second rate Andorra side while it was a foul on Mount which won the penalty for Kane and poor old Patrick Bamford was left to applaud from the subs’ bench having been replaced ten minutes earlier.
It was a case of what might have been for Bamford who was one of 11 changes to the starting line-up for Gareth Southgate who wanted to give the whole squad a run-out.
Jude Bellingham was the other stand out player as the Borussia Dortmund teenager dominated midfield in the first half and, at just 18, he has got the potential to be an England mainstay for the next decade. What a talent.
But Trent Alexander-Arnold definitely did not work for most of the match as Southgate actually picked three right backs in his starting line-up with only Reece James playing in his proper position and Kieran Trippier was left back.
Alexander-Arnold played the first half in midfield, looked horribly lost until Southgate changed things at half time, switching the Liverpool defender to full back, James into midfield and changed it again when he made his treble change.
It feels like Southgate is desperate to get Alexander-Arnold into his line-up but cannot quite figure how but does not want to be nasty and drop him. If you can’t play him in his proper position, then don’t bother.
England were so impressive against Hungary on Thursday night, this was always going to be a totally different game, a non-event, a training exercise against a team 156th in the FIFA rankings who have only ever won three World Cup qualifiers.
It is always a question of how many you can put past them and England did actually struggle at first in what was supposed to be a memorable day in their first game back at Wembley since the Euros,
It was a much nicer atmosphere than the swirling anger of two months ago when England lost the final on penalties but by half time some of the England fans were throwing paper aeroplanes again because they were so bored.
England broke the deadlock after 18 minutes when Saka drove forward, Andorra’s Marc Vales only half cleared and Lingard swept home. You then expect an avalanche of goals but they did not arrive until the three musketeers came on.
Grealish was particularly effective, his jinking run helped set up Mount who was fouled by Christian Garcia and Kane buried the penalty.
The third goal came after 78 minutes when Saka set up Lingard to fire past the keeper. Then the fourth arrived seven minutes later, Alexander-Arnold’s short corner found Lingard and his cross was headed in by Saka. At least the party finished on a high.