Everton’s in-form striker rose to head his 10th goal of the season after 26 minutes from Jack Grealish, delivering an impressive all-round display until he was substituted just before the hour.
The outstanding Grealish was at the heart of England’s best work, drawing the foul that led to England’s second goal eight minutes after the break. Kieran Trippier delivered a perfect free-kick that was turned in by an ecstatic Conor Coady for his first international goal.
England were now in control against a Wales side defending an eight-match unbeaten run and Danny Ings, making his first start, showed superb athleticism to add a third in the 63rd minutre with a perfectly-executed overhead kick after Tyrone Mings had headed down a Kalvin Phillips corner.
Calvert-Lewin takes his chance
Calvert-Lewin was the Premier League’s striker in form with nine goals for Everton – so it was no surprise this was an England debut bursting with confidence.
The 23-year-old has matured rapidly and all that development was on show as he delivered further illustration that he has what it takes to become the complete striker.
Calvert-Lewin’s attitude and workrate have never been in question but his goals output has. Now, with Everton top of the Premier League under manager Carlo Ancelotti, he cannot stop scoring.
Here, he was the beneficiary of brilliant work by Grealish, whose cross from the right was the sort any striker dreams of, Calvert-Lewin soaring to power in the header.
He was taken off just before the hour but his power in the air, close control, hold-up play and strong running made this an impressive bow.
England’s other contender for the man-of-the-match award was Grealish, who had waited so long for his international debut and finally got on for 14 minutes in the dismal goalless draw against Denmark in Copenhagen in early September.
Here, given his first start, Aston Villa’s captain ran the show from midfield, drifting into dangerous positions, creating danger and constantly drawing fouls in dangerous positions.
Grealish gave a top-class performance and his contribution, along with that of debutant Calvert-Lewin, will have delighted Southgate.
The added bonus came with all three goalscorers getting off the mark with their first goals for England.
Wales have a miserable night
Wales were missing their two big stars, the injured Gareth Bale and the unavailable Aaron Ramsey – who will now join up with the squad. Ramsey missed this game under coronavirus protocols, with Juventus having put their squad in a bubble last Saturday after two non-playing staff tested positive.
Those absences showed as they had a fair amount of possession in the first half but created little – it might have been different had those two been present.
Giggs will have been casting his eyes towards the Uefa Nations League games against the Republic of Ireland and Bulgaria – so one of his biggest concerns would have been the injury that forced off key striker Kieffer Moore in the first half.
He will have been worried too by Wales’ vulnerability to crosses and set-piece deliveries, which brought England’s three goals.
Wales have more important tests ahead and while this was an experimental night for Giggs, it was still a disappointing outcome.
Six on the bounce against Wales for England – key stats
- England have won six consecutive matches against Wales for the first time since a run of seven between March 1908 and March 1914.
- Wales suffered their worst defeat against England since May 1973, also a 3-0 defeat.
- Three players all scored their first England goals in this game (Calvert-Lewin, Coady and Ings), the first time that’s happened since June 1963 against Switzerland (Tony Kay, Johnny Byrne and Jimmy Melia).
- Dominic Calvert-Lewin became the 188th player to score on his England debut and the first Everton player to do so since Fred Pickering in 1964.
- Conor Coady ended a run of 111 games for club and country with a goal, scoring his first goal since April 2018 for Wolves against Bolton in a Championship match. It was the first time he’d had two shots in a match since March 2017 for Wolves against Reading.
- England gave four players (Saka, Calvert-Lewin, Barnes, James) their England debuts, the second game running four players have earned their debuts. It’s the first time since April/May 1933 that England have given four or more debuts in consecutive internationals.
- There were just 54 caps between the players in the England starting XI before kick-off, the fewest for an international since May 1980, when the XI for a game against Australia had just 46 caps between them.
- The starting XI featured players from 10 different clubs (Burnley, Atletico Madrid, Arsenal, Liverpool, Wolves, Everton, Spurs, Leeds, Southampton and Aston Villa), the most for a match since May 1997 against South Africa.
- Kieran Trippier captained England for the first time, becoming the first outfield player since David Beckham in June 2008 against Trinidad & Tobago to captain England while playing for a non-English club (Atletico Madrid).