England player ratings v Slovenia: Bellingham awful, Foden tries, hopeless Gallagher’s Euro 2024 done

Jason Soutar
England players line up before the Euro 2024 match against Slovenia
England players line up before the Euro 2024 match against Slovenia

We called for Anthony Gordon to start and Jude Bellingham to be moved deeper but England manager Gareth Southgate did exactly what we expected, making Conor Gallagher for Trent Alexander-Arnold his only change for Tuesday’s match against Slovenia.

That alteration is not the reason why but England were better against Slovenia than they were against Denmark. The bar was horrendously low, mind. Here are our player ratings.

England 0-0 Slovenia: Three Lions player ratings

Jordan Pickford
Had nothing to do except for sweeping up well with Benjamin Sesko hunting down a through ball.


Kyle Walker
A few passes from Kyle Walker did his team-mates no favours. A pass to Bukayo Saka went behind him and he lost it under pressure. Another pass back to Pickford was bouncing and had pace, making it awkward for his goalkeeper. Walker’s notorious terrible final product was on show when he attempted a cross on the volley only to watch it go miles over.


John Stones
Had a good chance to score from a Phil Foden corner but his header was cleared off the line. You could say he should have done better but the pressure from the Slovenian defender was enough to make it difficult. There was a scare for England after a misunderstanding on the halfway line between himself and Guehi led to a yellow card for the Crystal Palace man.


Marc Guehi
Said giveaway from Guehi led to a yellow card picked up in the 68th minute. Himself and Stones got muddled up from a long punt up the pitch and Guehi couldn’t control it off his thigh and had the Slovenia player running onto the loose ball, hauling him down to take the card. Luckily, Slovenia did nothing with the resulting free-kick that was their only chance to test Pickford all half.

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Kieran Trippier (off for Alexander-Arnold, 84)
Trippier was booked inside 17 minutes for a late challenge. It was a definite booking that stemmed from being overly excited in the press and was too keen to get a ball that was not there to be won.

It was far from convincing from a player who has performed well below par all year. It is clear that Southgate chucked it by not picking a direct back-up for Luke Shaw.

Trippier did, at least, provide the cross of the night that was missed by Conor Gallagher and Harry Kane. Even an assist wouldn’t have papered over the cracks of another shoddy showing.

On a side note: It’s worrying when a player whose best ability is from dead-ball situations is rubbish at them, isn’t it?


Declan Rice
Had a superb defence-splitting pass for England’s disallowed opener in the 20th minute. It was better from Rice on Tuesday, mainly because it was impossible to be any worse or as bad than he was vs Denmark.

Conor Gallagher (off for Mainoo, 45)
It took Conor Gallagher three minutes and 30 seconds to commit a foul. He was brought off for Kobbie Mainoo at half-time after an indifferent 45 minutes. Trent Alexander-Arnold being dropped made sense but moving Jude Bellingham back one, Phil Foden from the left to the No. 10 role, and Anthony Gordon in on the left wing was the move Gareth Southgate should have made.

It was Gallagher he went with in the only change to the starting XI against Denmark and it proved to be the wrong decision we knew it would prove to be. The Chelsea man was poor in possession, which was highlighted when being dispossessed following a couple of decent touches from team-mates, and when his header – under no pressure whatsoever – to a Slovenian led to a Benjamin Sesko shot.

He had a great season at club level but England will benefit from Gallagher not playing another minute in Germany.


Jude Bellingham
What has this imposter in the No. 10 shirt done with Jude Bellingham from the first half against Serbia? He has been shocking since running the show in the Three Lions’ opening fixture. The pitch didn’t help the Real Madrid star against Denmark and it looked like the heaviness of the grass was still affecting him versus Slovenia.

There were too many instances of Bellingham failing to get the ball out of his feet, making a poor pass, miscontrolling the ball, and ruining a sniff of decent link-up play between his teammates. He might be knackered after a long season, but it has been a long season for a lot of the players at Euro 2024.

It is alarming that after 55 minutes it seemed that the best option off the bench had to be coming on for Bellingham; he was hindering England more than anything. He somehow lasted the full match as Southgate brought off Bukayo Saka and Phil Foden instead.


Bukayo Saka (off for Palmer, 71)
Thought he had opened the scoring after an outstanding team move between Declan Rice, Phil Foden and Kieran Trippier but the assister, Foden, was offside.

Slovenia players wanted a penalty when one of their players threw themselves to the ground when being defended by Saka but the referee was rightly having none of it.

The Arsenal man had a pretty quiet evening, making no key passes and not even attempting to dribble past his opposing defender once, let alone completing a dribble. It has not been his tournament thus far after showing positive signs in the opening match against Serbia.


Phil Foden (0ff for Gordon, 89)
There is no question about it; Phil Foden was England’s best player against Slovenia. Unfortunately for him, he is playing in his worst position out of the three behind the striker. Fortunately for him, Southgate has at least given him the freedom to float around and try to make things happen.

He made a great run a little too early and saw his assist for Saka ruled out for offside in the 20th minute. Foden would misplace a few passes with the outside of his foot but was at least taking initiative and trying to make things happen. When Bellingham was trying to make things happen, it came off as if he had been drinking with the England fans all day.

You could see Foden knew his starting berth was on the line and filled us with hope by getting involved and looking to take the lead in the England attack. He was taken off for Anthony Gordon late on when it really ought to have been Bellingham, and a lot sooner.


Harry Kane
We did see more of Harry Kane dropping deep than we did in England’s opening two matches and had one outstanding David Beckham-esque pass to Jude Bellingham from right-back that was not controlled well at all by the struggling Madrid man.

Kane’s best moment arguably came when he won a foul at the perfect time during Slovenia’s best spell in the first half. He is damn good at doing that.

Substituting Kane off when chasing a goal might be a blasphemous idea to some, but it could have made the difference. Ollie Watkins’ energy and willingness to get in behind might have helped.

Kobbie Mainoo (on for Gallagher, 45)
Big display of faith from Southgate, who also swallowed his pride by bringing Gallagher off for Mainoo after a poor half. It was heartening to see the England manager admit defeat and abandon the plan that everyone knew wouldn’t work after 45 minutes.

England improved following his introduction. He is tidy on the ball, picks the correct pass, is willing to take risks on the ball, can deliver from wide if that’s where he finds himself on the ball, and is so much better at getting involved and picking up the ball in the right positions.

Made more passes after 20 minutes on the pitch than Gallagher did in the entire first half.


Cole Palmer (on for Saka, 71)
Gareth Southgate decided to wait until the 71st minute to make another change because he couldn’t bring Conor Gallagher on. Finally, Cole Palmer was introduced for his first minutes of the tournament. It should probably been for Bellingham, not Saka, but he was the man who had to come on. Well, him or Anthony Gordon.

Had a good opportunity to score with a similar opportunity to Mattia Zaccagni for Italy on Monday but he couldn’t test the Slovenia goalkeeper. England’s best move of the day came in the 92nd minute. Ideal.


Trent Alexander-Arnold (on for Trippier, 84)
Trippier was pretty pants but nobody expected this substitution to spark a winner for England.


Anthony Gordon (on for Foden, 89)
Oh my word, he finally got minutes at Euro 2024. Eighty-nine minutes too late, though. Ran out of play the first time he got the ball.

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