Ollie Watkins was in dreamland after coming off the bench to score on his England debut in a 5-0 World Cup qualifying defeat of San Marino at Wembley.
Watkins completed the scoring as the Three Lions started their quest to win Group I and seal automatic qualification for the 2022 tournament in Qatar with a victory that should have been more emphatic.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored twice after James Ward-Prowse put England in front with his first senior international goal and Raheem Sterling – named as captain with Harry Kane on the bench – was also on target.
Watkins came on to replace Calvert-Lewin after 63 minutes and the Aston Villa striker grasped his chance, firing home from just inside the penalty area seven minutes from time.
The 25-year-old’s goal came from his only shot, although the forward also created a chance, and he savoured such a special moment on his international bow.
Asked about his debut goal, Watkins told ITV Sport: “Unbelievable, what I have dreamt about. All day in the hotel I was just thinking that I hope to get a chance to come on, enjoy it and get the opportunity to score. I’m speechless to be honest.
“It’s been a good journey. I just feel honoured that I can come out here and play for my country with these players and score on my debut. Over the moon. I just wanted to get on pitch for a start. I have and can’t believe it.
“I’m going to take each game as it comes, focus on my club form, play consistently for Aston Villa, score for them, help the team push up the table and hopefully get into Europe and take it from there.”
— England (@England) March 25, 2021
Calvert-Lewin expressed his delight for fellow frontman Watkins.
The Everton striker said: “He’s been really sharp, he’s a nice lad, it’s the first time I’ve come across him. I know what it feels like, not too long ago, to step into the squad and the feeling he’ll have now, scoring on his debut is something that he’ll always have dreamed of.
“He came in a little bit late, we all gave him a bit of a clap and he’ll have a big smile on his face. I’m very happy for him.”
The Three Lions had 32 shots – 15 on target – in Gareth Southgate’s 50th match in charge against a side propping up with FIFA rankings, but Calvert-Lewin was not impressed to be asked if they should have been more clinical.
He said: “You’re [the media] never happy, are you? We scored five, maybe it could have been more. I could have scored more, we had a couple more chances to be more clinical, but it’s still the three points at the end of the day.”
England had nine ‘big chances’, from which they would be expected to score, and missed seven of them.
Calvert-Lewin was guilty of two misses, although his two goals also each came from such opportunities, while Jesse Lingard (twice), Sterling, John Stones and Jude Bellingham failed to convert, too.
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