Chalobah unused substitute as Sancho makes England debut in Croatia draw

John Stones and Gareth Southgate on the pitch

John Stones is still upset by the World Cup semi-final loss to Croatia Credit Getty Images

The fact that no England fans will be allowed in the stadium for their team's clash with Croatia will give the Three Lions "a major boost", manager Gareth Southgate has declared. We were a real threat (against Croatia).

From the sound of the high fives of England's players echoing around the stadium before kick-off, to the distant voices of visiting supporters somewhere on a hill near the ground asking goalkeeper Jordan Pickford for a wave, this was a surreal evening on the Adriatic coast.

Southgate said: "The first half was pretty even but we had a very good chance from a corner, which we probably should have got on the end of".

"If you look at England's players coming through, there's a lack of understanding about what controlling a game is and that can really influence the tempo of a match and make a game move at the pace they want it to".

On moving to a back four: "We wanted to keep continuity in September but we felt this system was the best way to go".

More news: Remains Of 11 Infants Found In Former Cantrell Funeral Home

Eric Dier and Harry Kane headed against the woodwork for the visitors while Marcus Rashford spurned two clear opportunities as England missed out on a first win in the new competition. "I don't think my game has dipped". We showed good endeavour and creative play. The 20-year-old's form with the national side reflects that at Manchester United, veering from one extreme to the other, but Southgate retains faith in a player who has already gained 28 caps. I'd like to have scored more for England recently.

It seems likely that Jadon Sancho, whose 12-minute cameo off the bench in Croatia caught the eye, will start among the substitutes again having consistently impressed as an impact replacement with Borussia Dortmund.

A completely miscued finish was followed by a failure to test Livakovic from a glorious position, squandering two chances to hand England the lead.

And the 2018 FIFA World Cup finalists appeared to miss the backing of their home fans as they struggled to make their mark on the match, with England dominating after a poor first half from both sides. But Southgate is confident the 18-year-old boasts the class and quality to thrive from the outset if required. No idea why we didn't insist on him or Walker was going nowhere.

Ross Barkley had strong claims for a penalty waived away on his first worldwide appearance for two-and-a-half years before Rashford was twice presented with golden chances to score for the third straight game for his country.

Latest News