Much has been made of Gareth Southgate’s intention to call-up West Ham United star Declan Rice.
But when the 20-year-old midfield enforcer rose above Newcastle United’s defence to power home the opening goal of a 2-0 win, Southgate was nowhere to be seen.
It was Rice’s second senior goal in yet another man of the match performance for West Ham.
There was a lot of hype around the Premier League’s late kick-off on Saturday.
Rice vs Longstaff = Mayweather vs McGregor
Most of it centered around the battle between Rice and another emerging midfield talent Sean Longstaff.
So one would assume the England manager – desperate for quality players in that position for his team – would be in attendance.
Instead Southgate was up at Turf Moor watching Burnley host his old club Crystal Palace.
The Three Lions boss was reportedly watching Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Tom Heaton instead.
Holland steps in and can’t fail to be impressed
It mattered little in the end for Rice, though.
Rolls Royce Rice outshone Longstaff as he ran the game from midfield. Longstaff meanwhile was substituted at half-time.
It was the most one-sided duel since Floyd Mayweather took on Conor McGregor.
In Southgate’s stead was England assistant boss Steve Holland at the London Stadium.
No doubt his report back to Southgate was glowing. And of course being the live game, Southgate would have been able to catch the match on television.
The biggest loser on the day would have been Longstaff.
Hyped beyond his talent by Magpies fans it was no fault of his that comparisons had been made between him and relative Premier League veteran Rice.
Blame Martin Keown for that (Daily Star).