Butland handed England start against Lithuania

After negotiating a poor qualifying group, they will have a chance to test themselves against better opposition when world champions Germany and Brazil turn up for friendlies at Wembley next month.

Harry Kane's late victor in the 1-0 win over Slovenia on Thursday sealed England's place in Russian Federation, but a match of numbing tedium was so poor Sunday's now academic final group match in Lithuania will test the loyalty of the country's armchair supporters after the dross at Wembley.

Lithuania may have already been eliminated from the qualifying process but they would love nothing more than to put their home advantage to good use and stifle the English. Harry Kane netted in the fourth minute of stoppage time to earn England their victory over Slovenia after an uninspiring performance.

True, they are, England's sixth World Cup in a row, and perhaps the problem has always been the unrealistic expectations held by many in England, from the fans to the media.

England's plodding display meant supporters found attempts to aim paper planes at the pitch more entertaining than matters on the field at sparsely-filled Wembley.

He said: "The tendency is to go with players with first-team experience because you have evidence of how they will react".

Northern Ireland faced one of the strongest opponents in the continent and, therefore, had an extremely hard task to top Group C as current world champions Germany lead the pack in that table. Not even one, it's like, 'How many am I going to get today?' He must have that kind of mentality. These are vital games for us to learn in. But at least one routine has ended: Their fans no longer expect.

His club team-mate Harry Kane, who scored the late victor against Slovenia on Thursday, is keen to play even with games against Real Madrid and Liverpool coming up after the worldwide break. Such behavior can never be condoned, but England owes him a debt of goal-scoring gratitude.

England's performance on Thursday was disjointed, lacklustre and lacked any semblance of creativity - and that's being kind. His direct style of play is very much needed to provide England with some penetrative power. Then I'd have Alli behind Kane and Rashford. It might help if he could replicate elements from the top Premier League sides.

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