March’s triple-header – and the road to next year’s finals in Qatar – kicked off with a 5-0 defeat of the world’s lowest-ranked side on Thursday evening.
Former Sheffield Unted striker Calvert-Lewin got the nod to lead the line, with skipper Harry Kane rested, and grabbed a brace against San Marino, although he will have been kicking himself for failing to score a hat-trick.
Yet the 24-year-old displayed no such frustration after the match, nor any sign of pressure of fighting for his place in this summer’s Euro 2020 squad.
“I didn’t really feel any pressure,” said Calvert-Lewin, with the Three Lions now preparing for qualifiers against Albania tomorrow and Poland, next week.
“The only pressure I really feel is that which I put on myself.
“I think I’m in a privileged position and I’ve worked very hard to be here, so I take confidence in that and I take confidence in the goals that I’ve scored already this season, so when I do step on the pitch I believe I’m going to score.
“I can’t really affect anything else other than when I’m on the pitch, so I try and concentrate on that.”
Asked if he had sent a message to Southgate with his performance, the Everton striker said: “I scored two goals.
“Maybe I could have had a couple more but that’s what I’m there to do. I’m in there to score goals so I’m doing my job.
“We knew that we had to kind of build momentum from this game.
“That obviously going into this we’re expected to win it and we’re expected to win it in a certain fashion and we’ve come away scoring five goals tonight.
“We can take confidence and momentum from that into the next two games.”
Calvert-Lewin was replaced after 63 minutes by Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins, who made his Three Lions debut just six years on from playing at Weston-super-Mare on loan from Exeter.
The 25-year-old enjoyed a night to remember at an empty Wembley, wrapping up victory with a fine low strike towards the end. “He’s been really sharp and he’s a nice lad,” Calvert-Lewin, who made his debut in October, said of Watkins.
“It’s the first time I’ve come across him and I know what it feels like not too long ago to step into the squad.
“The feeling he’ll have now, scoring on his debut, is something he’ll always have dreamed of.
“He came in a bit late and we all gave him a clap.
“He had a big smile on his face. I’m very, very happy for him,” he added.
Marcus Rashford and Bukayo Saka have been ruled out of England’s World Cup qualifiers against Albania and Poland.
England travel to Tirana on Sunday and welcome Poland to Wembley on Wednesday – the final matches before Southgate names his squad for this summer’s rearranged European Championships.
“Marcus Rashford and Bukayo Saka will play no part in England’s forthcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers,” the FA said in a statement.
“Rashford reported to St. George’s Park with an injury that ruled him out of the 5-0 win against San Marino and, following further assessment, it has been decided he will continue his rehabilitation with Manchester United.
“Saka had remained at Arsenal for further assessment on an ongoing issue with the hope of joining up with the Three Lions but will now not be available for the fixtures against Albania and Poland.”
Leeds United’s Mateusz Klich will not face England at Wembley on Wednesday after receiving another positive test for the coronavirus he thought he was over.
The midfielder missed Thursday’s 3-3 World Cup qualifier against Hungary because he was isolating after testing positive upon reporting for international duty.
A negative test then raised hopes that he might be able to return, but a second positive has put him out of the matches against Andorra and England.
Klich now has until the Easter weekend to get himself ready for his next game. Leeds’ first game after the international break is at home to Sheffield United on April 3.
The 17-year-old striker Max Dean has signed his first professional contract, committing him to the club until the summer of 2023.
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