5 things Southgate got right as Harry Kane scores hat-trick during England win

Harry Kane scored a perfect first-half hat-trick as England thrashed Albania 5-0 at Wembley to close in on World Cup qualification.

England came out of the blocks flying, and Harry Maguire's bullet header was shortly followed by Harry Kane strike to put Gareth Southgate's side comfortably ahead, but the first half was far from complete.

Jordan Henderson's brilliant solo run added a third, before Kane scored two more before the break to complete a stunning hat-trick, and become England's leading competitive goalscorer – overtaking Wayne Rooney.

The damage was well and truly done in the first half, and England professionally saw out the rest of the game to move within one point of World Cup qualification.

Following from a near-perfect performance from England, Daily Star Sport take a look at five things Southgate got right…

Sticking with Maguire

Maguire has been at the centre of a lot of criticism recently after the Manchester United captain has struggled domestically, but Southgate stuck with his man.

The faith paid off as Maguire opened the scoring with a trademark header, and in doing so opened the floodgates in what turned out to be a ruthless first half.

Maguire looked comfortable again and the performance would have done the defender the world of good, with United fans hoping that he can return to form after a dismal run.

To add to his goal, was a solid performance against a shell shocked Albania side, who only had one real sight at goal due to a Kyle Walker error.

Trusting in Kane

Maguire isn't the only England international to be struggling domestically, as Kane has been held to just one Premier League goal, which is almost unheard of come November.

As well as calls to drop Maguire, Kane's name was mentioned as some wanted Southgate to bench the Tottenham star, but the forward replied in the best possible fashion, with a first-half perfect hat-trick.

Kane could've had five in the first-half, and claimed his hat-trick with a terrific acrobatic effort from a Reece James corner just before the break to silence the critics.

Tottenham fans will be hoping that the arrival of Antonio Conte will bring the best back out of Kane, who looked unplayable against Albania.

Learning from Hungary

Albania have earned a lot of respect during this qualifying group, and had only conceded seven goals in eight games before Friday night, with them still in the picture for a World Cup spot before their visit to England.

However, Southgate sent England out flying and didn't allow the opposition to settle at Wembley, which is something that he allowed against Hungary last time out.

England scored early, and didn't settle for that as they really turned the screw in the first half, scoring five before the break as they blew Albania away.

They were more reserved against Hungary, and fell behind as a result, being forced to settle for a hard fought draw in front of the home crowd.

Phillips and Henderson

Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips were England's heroic midfield pairing over the summer, and the duo were pivotal in their charge towards the final of Euro 2020.

However, Rice withdrew from the England squad ahead of their qualifiers against Albania and San Marino, leaving Southgate with a decision to make in midfield.

Southgate opted for Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson, and the midfielder was outstanding as he delivered a beautiful cross to Kane who headed in from close range before grabbing one himself as the Tottenham striker returned the favour.

The experience of Henderson was prominent tonight, and he helped control the midfield as England picked Albania apart to close in on World Cup qualification.

Capitalising on set pieces

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Although England's Euro 2020 run was almost faultless, one thing that they didn't make the most of was set pieces, but they've been prolific during qualifying and their performance against Albania was no different.

Maguire latched on to James' free kick to open the scoring, and Kane scored a brilliant acrobatic effort from a Phil Foden corner as England took full advantage from dead ball situations.

England have a wonderful balance of aerial presence and executed delivery, and their first-half successes came with Trent Alexander-Arnold sat on the bench flexing their depth.

If England can add dominance form set pieces to their list of growing attributes then they could be in for another successful international run, should they claim the golden point required against San Marino on Monday.

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