England player ratings vs Iceland: Who should start Euro 2024 opener?

Bukayo Saka throws a paper aeroplane at Wembley against Iceland
Saka was used only as a substitute, and took a moment out of the game to throw a paper aeroplane made by a member of the bored Wembley crowd - Getty Images/Ryan Pierse

England finalised their Euro 2024 preparations in far-from-ideal fashion, losing 1-0 to Iceland at Wembley, with Jon Dagur Thorsteinsson’s first-half goal doing the damage.

But it was not just the scoreline that put a dampener on the mood at Wembley, as a number of players put in below-par performances, just a day after Gareth Southgate named his final squad on Thursday.

Scroll down to leave your own ratings for the England players during Friday night’s defeat.

England (4-2-3-1)

Aaron Ramsdale

Will be disappointed to be beaten at his near post by Thorsteinsson. It was a save he would expect to make, even if it went through Stones’ legs. It was a big moment for him as other shots were straight at him during his first cap in nine months. Decent saves from Ingason and Finnsson. 4/10   
Verdict: Back on the bench next game

Kyle Walker

Was caught going forward when Iceland scored, although there was little in the way of cover from his team-mates which he would normally expect. Usual good pace going forward but was greeted by a wall of blue. Will be an important attacker if opponents get men behind the ball. 5/10 
Verdict: Certain starter 

John Stones

Injury scare in the first minutes of the game when his ankle took the weight of Thorsteinsson as they fell together. Was able to carry on until half-time but at fault for backing off for the ball. Still, his fitness is so important to Southgate having been at the heart of his tournament successes. 4/10 
Verdict: Stay fit and start against Serbia 

Gareth Southgate will be hoping John Stones' injury is not serious
Gareth Southgate will be hoping John Stones' injury is not serious - Getty Images/Ryan Pierse

Marc Guehi

Excellent block to deny Traustason, bravely diving in front of the shot when it looked like Iceland could get their second goal. But he was guilty of rare lapses when Iceland went forward in the second half. Still rusty after coming back from injury but will be important in Germany. Took blow to head blocking a shot in second half. 5/10 
Verdict: In line to start in Gelsenkirchen next weekend

Kieran Trippier

Was more advanced than against Bosnia, helped by Iceland sitting very deep and inviting England onto them. But he would have liked to get more crosses in or create more chances for his team-mates. The right-back will be Southgate’s left-back when the tournament starts as Luke Shaw recovers from injury. 5/10 
Verdict: Has been primed to start 

Declan Rice

Usual good energy from the Arsenal midfielder and his pressing created a chance for Palmer, hurrying goalkeeper Valdimarsson into a mistake. He kept the ball ticking with his passes and joined attacks when it was possible. Will have important function protecting the back four. 6/10 
Verdict: One of Southgate’s leaders  

Kobbie Mainoo

On the team-sheet as a defensive midfielder but was higher up the pitch in a No 8 role, joining attacks. He won the ball high up the pitch too with his pressing and always looked confident when on the ball. Could pick a pass too to get into the next third of the pitch. 5/10 
Verdict: Will be fighting for a starting place

Anthony Gordon

Really positive performance from the Newcastle winger, who made up for missing the Bosnia win with a knock. He took on his full-back, often getting past him and getting a cross in. He could also cut inside to a get a shot away. His direct running will be a threat in Germany. 7/10 
Verdict: Impact sub  

Phil Foden

Started in the No10 role which has caused debate. Can he start in a central role? In this game he was full of small passes to release team-mates and also had a shot fly wide with his best effort in the second half. Jude Bellingham’s return means Southgate must find a way to get two creative players in his starting line-up. 5/10  
Verdict: Could start on left flank

Cole Palmer

Was a good threat for England, with one effort in the first half cleared off the line by Gretarsson. He was also creative, putting in a cross for Kane that should have been tucked away. Made the wrong decision when in front of goal and decided to go around the keeper - but was positive that he was in these goal-scoring positions. 6/10 
Verdict: Saka ahead of him in pecking order

Harry Kane

Dropped so deep at times that he was in the defensive-midfield position spraying the ball forwards. Also in the No10 role to get involved in the game as Iceland dropped deep. When he got in the area he put his best chance over the crossbar from Palmer’s cross. 5/10 
Verdict: No question - he leads the team out at Arena AufSchalke 

It was a frustrating night for Harry Kane, among others
It was a frustrating night for Harry Kane, among others - Getty Images/Robin Jones


Ezri Konsa 45 (Stones), Trent Alexander-Arnold 64 (Walker), Joe Gomez 64 (Trippier), Ivan Toney 64 (Kane), Bukayo Saka 64 (Gordon), Eberechi Eze 77 (Palmer)

Verdict: Saka drew fouls immediately and his threat will be important at the tournament. Alexander-Arnold was lively and could have levelled in stoppage time with a shot that deflected wide, while Toney could well have earned a penalty with a trip that bizarrely did not get looked at by VAR. The defence, however, looked open as the match wore on, which was worrying.  

Not used: Dean Henderson (g), Jordan Pickford (g), James Trafford (g), Jarell Quansah, Conor Gallagher, Ollie Watkins, Jarrod Bowen, Adam Wharton, Bukayo Saka

Iceland (4-3-3): Valdimarsson; Bjarkason, Gretarsson, Ingason, Finnsson; Traustason, Gudmundsson (Sigurdsson 83), Haraldsson (Johannesson 83); Thorsteinsson (Fridriksson 90+3), Gudjohnsen, Anderson (Thordarson 64)

Subs (not used): Olafsson (g), Gunnarsson (g), Sampsted, Thorarinsson, Bjarnason, Tomasson, Magnusson, Hlynsson

Booked: Ingason, Haraldsson, Finnsson

Attendance: 81,410

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