Ollie Watkins’ goal secures England a hard-fought victory against Australia.”

Here’s the passage translated into standard English:

“There is unlikely to be any deviation from the tried and trusted when England returns to Wembley to face Italy in the Euro 2024 qualifying match on Tuesday. If Gareth Southgate was hoping to leave this win over Australia with selection dilemmas, a disjointed display will surely have left him even more certain about who will be in his starting XI in Germany next summer.

Not that there were no positives for Southgate to take from the night, including a clean sheet for Sam Johnstone, Ollie Watkins taking his chance up front, and Lewis Dunk making a crucial goal-line clearance when it was 0-0, and Australia were in control.

However, there were concerns elsewhere. Fikayo Tomori was shaky in central defense, and Jarrod Bowen struggled to prove he can challenge the absent Bukayo Saka on the right wing. Creativity was in short supply. Jack Grealish lacked consistency, despite assisting Watkins’ goal. Among the many questions that emerged, perhaps the most intriguing is how Southgate will handle the public disapproval that Jordan Henderson faced after his substitution in the second half.

The boos for Henderson were likely not only because of England’s midfield confusion, which saw Conor Gallagher pushing high and Trent Alexander-Arnold drifting inside to play as a quarterback. It was likely a reaction to Henderson moving to Saudi Arabia and seemingly betraying the LGBTQ+ cause. The PR battle is lost, and while Southgate has stood by the former Liverpool captain, seeing him look so far off the pace against Australia makes it hard not to conclude that England have less complicated options.

The issue is that Henderson is playing in a league with lower intensity, which surely impacts a player’s condition. At 33, Henderson’s value to England is diminishing, and Southgate must think carefully about his midfield. Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham are certain to start, but who fills the third slot? Not Henderson, based on this evidence. Ultimately, Southgate probably needs Kalvin Phillips to leave Manchester City in January and find regular playing time. His ideal scenario is not Alexander-Arnold as an auxiliary midfielder or James Maddison playing as a No. 8; it is Rice and Phillips shielding the defense and releasing Bellingham.

It was a relief for the focus to shift to player assessments. After the controversy caused by the FA’s refusal to light the Wembley arch in the colors of the Israeli flag or the Jewish prayer shawl, it was good to see the moment of silence in memory of the victims of the Middle East conflict pass without any disruption.

This was a challenging test for England. Australia was motivated, with Keanu Baccus and Jackson Irvine making strong challenges in midfield and looking for any signs of complacency. When they threatened in the 22nd minute, Sam Johnstone made a good save after Baccus’s shot deflected off Tomori, highlighting the need for England to improve.

Their passing was inaccurate. Bowen, making his first appearance since June 2022, missed an opportunity to set up Jack Grealish on the left. Maddison’s shot went out for a throw. Australia had hope, and they issued another warning when Tomori lost track of Mitchell Duke, although the striker volleyed wide.

Australia capitalized on their physicality. Kye Rowles, the left-back, shot over after a corner fell to him, and England struggled. There were gaps in midfield, with Gallagher lacking discipline and Henderson struggling for control. Further up the field, Maddison couldn’t get the ball, although he did underline his threat on one occasion, releasing Watkins to round Maty Ryan and hit the woodwork from a tight angle.

However, England’s performance was inconsistent. Australia should have taken the lead when Martin Boyle released Ryan Strain after turning past Levi Colwill, who will need to improve after making his debut at left-back. Strain’s shot beat Johnstone, but Dunk cleared it.

To be fair, England experimented with their shape in possession. Colwill moved into a back three, Alexander-Arnold played close to Henderson, and Gallagher pushed close to Bowen. It wasn’t easy to execute, and England often looked congested.

In the end, they resorted to a more direct approach. After 57 minutes, Australia lost concentration when Alexander-Arnold delivered a deep cross. Grealish had time to fire a low shot toward the far post and looked displeased when Watkins slid in to score from close range.

Was Grealish’s shot going in? Was this a fortunate deflection? Watkins didn’t appear apologetic. Strikers need goals, and Watkins needs to improve his numbers if he wants to challenge Callum Wilson, Ivan Toney, and Eddie Nketiah for the role of Harry Kane’s backup.

Johnstone also did himself no harm in goal, making another save from Goodwin. England could make changes. Nketiah made his debut, and Australia came close again, with Connor Metcalfe hitting the post with a header. England’s second-string players held on.”