Dele Alli and John Stones shine on a good night for England
Alli is 'man-of-the match' while 'England's best all-round centre-back' has 'elegance and poise', say critics
England 2 France 0
In addition to the outpouring of emotion at Wembley last night there was also a game of football, in which a young England team beat France 2-0.
With more than a dozen senior players out injured, Roy Hodgson fielded an experimental team of youngsters that included Spurs duo Dele Alli and Eric Dier in midfield. Another young Lilywhite, Harry Kane, led the attack and Everton defender John Stones marshalled the rearguard. Raheem Sterling, making his 19th senior appearance, was one of the team's veterans, albeit at the age of just 20.
But it was Alli who stole the show, with a thunderbolt strike to open the scoring late in the first half.
"There were moans that Alli had not earned his stripes when he was called up for England's final two European Championship qualifiers last month after making only seven Barclays Premier League appearances, while even Hodgson warned that he could be in for a prompt return to the under-21s, but no one is complaining now," says Matt Hughes in The Times. "On the contrary, he may never play for Gareth Southgate's development side again after producing this man-of-the-match performance, which contained so much more than his memorable goal.
"Raheem Sterling was fast-tracked in a similar way after an abbreviated under-21 career and has not looked back."
Indeed it was Sterling who set up the second goal early in the second half, as his cross found Wayne Rooney at the far post and England's record goal scorer volleyed home.
But it was a night that belonged to Alli, says the Daily Mirror, as Spurs fans revelled in the fact they had more players on the pitch than Arsenal. Alli was also hailed as the obvious replacement for Gunners crock Jack Wilshere, whose continued injury problems could result in him losing his England place for Euro 2016 and beyond to Alli.
Everton fans also had cause to celebrate. John Stones must be installed as a regular, says the Daily Telegraph. "He is England's best all-round centre-back and the 21-year-old must start in the Euro 2016 finals. Stones is not the future, he is the here and now thanks to his elegance and poise."
Meanwhile, another Toffee, Ross Barkley, won praise from The Guardian, which notes that England looked dangerous when he was "retrieving the ball from deep and creating a spark on which to build".