Burnley's James Tarkowski impresses on England debut - despite conceding late penalty
James Tarkowski could be proud of his performance as he became the 28th Claret to earn a senior cap for the Three Lions.
However, the Burnley centre back‘s faultless evening ended in controversy as he was harshly penalised after catching Federico Chiesa in the box three minutes from time, with a spot kick given after a VAR review, converted by Lorenzo Insigne.
England were in course for a record-equalling sixth consecutive clean sheet, before Tarkowski was adjudged to have come down on Chiesa’s foot, although the ball had gone and the player was already on his way down.
The 25-year-old otherwise gave an assured display on the left of a back three, at Wembley.
Tarkowski proudly belted out the anthem, ahead of becoming England’s 1231st senior international.
He started confidently, with one taking crossfield pass for former Claret Kieran Trippier just picked off by Mattia De Sciglio, before he looked a header over from a Trippier corner when he had time and space to make more of the opportunity.
He upped the tempo with one pass zipped into Jesse Lingard, who found the run of Jamie Vardy, but De Sciglio did well to smother his shot.
While not overly stretched defensively - though John Stones to his left had some uncomfortable moments of his own making - England took the lead on 26 minutes as Raheem Sterling was fouled, but Lingard played a quick free kick to send Vardy away, and he produced an unerring finish inside the near post past Gianluigi Donnarumma.
Moments later Ciro Immobile cut inside Tarkowski and his effort was deflected wide by Kyle Walker, but he was again a threat at the other end, this time from an Ashley Young corner, with Leonardo Bonucci forced to make a block to deny him a debut goal.
Tarkowski continued to use the ball efficiently and confidently, one pass at the start of the second half standing out - a delightful scooped ball into Young.
He followed that up with a similarly effortless pass to Vardy, as he showed he was clearly enjoying the experience.
His defensive skills were not overly tested by an Italy side who have failed to qualify for the World Cup, for the first time since 1958, but overall he could be pleased with his night’s work - and wonder whether he impressed sufficiently to earn another opportunity, and potentially go to the World Cup