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England captain Jordan Henderson dismayed as Spain punish late England lapses

England 2 Spain 2

By Robert Jones

Published 16/11/2016

Not over yet: Iago Aspas begins the late fightback by curling Spain’s first goal past Tom Heaton while England defender John Stones looks on helplessly
Not over yet: Iago Aspas begins the late fightback by curling Spain’s first goal past Tom Heaton while England defender John Stones looks on helplessly
Battling through: Jesse Lingard of England goes between Sergio Busquets (5) and Nacho of Spain (6) during their international friendly match
Spain's Alarcon Isco (centre right) celebrates scoring his side's second goal of the game

England captain Jordan Henderson admits it was devastating to concede two late goals to draw 2-2 with Spain at Wembley. Adam Lallana's penalty and Jamie Vardy's header had put the hosts into a seemingly comfortable position just three minutes into the second half.

However, they switched off in the closing stages and after Iago Aspas scored on his debut in the 89th minute, Real Madrid forward Isco equalised in the sixth minute of added time.

"We are devastated because we put a lot of work into it," said Henderson. "To concede two like that late on is very disappointing.

"I thought we matched them in terms of effort and work rate. There are a lot of good things to take from it but overall we are disappointed because we should have won.

"In the final third I thought we created some good chances and looked dangerous on the counter-attack and for most of the game we defended well."

Vardy was pleased, at least, to end a goal drought stretching back to September 10.

"Finally it's over so let's hope there are more to come now," he said.

On interim manager Gareth Southgate, who is being tipped to get the job on a full-time basis, Henderson added: "He has been brilliant.

"He has not changed too much but you've seen with the performance we came with a plan which we did down to a 'T' but unfortunately it was not to be at the end of the day."

Southgate hoped the manner in which the match ended will provide a valuable lesson.

He said: "Maybe in the long run, not winning a game like that will be better for us. We know the level and we know the improvement we have made.

"It was a fantastic performance and effort. At times we used the ball really well but maybe as the second half wore on we started to tire and that is where keeping the ball better would have allowed us to save some energy."

With no international football until the new year now, the FA has to make a decision on how to fill the England manager's position full-time.

Southgate is now the overwhelming favourite and believes he has acquitted himself well.

"I've loved doing it but it's not my decision," he said.

"We are proud of what we have done with the team. We were asked to take over a situation in a temporary measure and tonight's performance was special.

"I can handle big occasions. I know myself pretty well but until you are thrown into matches like last Friday (the World Cup qualifier against Scotland) under intense pressure and tactical challenges like today you never know how it is going to be."

Asked how soon a decision should be made Southgate added: "We've got an under-21 European finals to prepare for - and I need to know where I'm going to park my car for the next few weeks!"

England: Hart (Heaton, 46 mins), Clyne, Stones, Cahill (Jagielka, 46 mins), Rose (Cresswell, 79 mins), Dier, Henderson, Sterling (Townsend, 65 mins), Lallana (Walcott, 27 mins), Lingard, Vardy (Rashford, 67 mins). Unused subs: Walker, Sturridge, Keane, Wilshere, Bertrand, Pickford.

Spain: Reina, Carvajal, Martinez, Nacho, Azpilicueta, Mata (Koke, 46 mins), Busquets (Nolito, 78 mins), Thiago (Ander Herrera, 56 mins), Silva (Isco, 64 mins), Aduriz (Morata, 64 mins), Vitolo (Aspas, 46 mins). Unused subs: de Gea, Sergi Roberto, Bartra, Callejon, Monreal, Sergio Asenjo.

Referee: Ovidiu Alin Hategan (Romania)

Man of the match: Sergio Busquets

Match rating: 7/10

Belfast Telegraph

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