It was a goalscoring return to international action for Ben Chilwell, who made his first appearance for the Three Lions since the end of March against Andorra and netted for the first time.
The defender’s sweet strike from close range opened the scoring for Gareth Southgate’s side in their latest World Cup qualifier, the first of five goals netted by the visitors in the Pyrenees as they took another step closer to Qatar 2022.
However, there was an agonising wait for his first England goal to be confirmed after an offside flag against Jadon Sancho initially ruled it out before VAR intervened.
‘I was just hoping that it got overturned,’ Chilwell said afterwards. ‘I asked Sanch if he thought he was offside and he said he thought he was on so I was hoping that it would get overturned and thankfully it was.
‘It’s amazing. I’ve been in the squad for three or so years now so to get that first goal was special. Although I waited a few minutes to celebrate, it’s an amazing feeling and I’m over the moon with it.’
The 24-year-old now has three goals in his past five starts for club and country, though the runout was just his fifth appearance of the campaign. Marcos Alonso’s excellent form has kept the Spaniard in the Chelsea team, while Euro 2020 in the summer proved a difficult experience as Chilwell failed to play a single minute at the tournament.
‘These things happen in football,’ Chilwell said of the challenges he’s faced in recent months. ‘Everyone has periods in their career where things don’t go their way and you just have to make sure that you’re training hard and ready when that opportunity comes to take it and show that you should be playing.
‘It’s very proud every time you put the shirt on and I just wanted to get on the pitch and give the gaffer a bit of a headache for the future games. Just playing for England is such a special feeling and to get that goal and a good win was nice.’