Gareth Southgate praised Rico Lewis after the teenage debutant bounced back from a contentious penalty call made against him during an impressive first England appearance away to North Macedonia.
An unbeaten year that started with victory in Italy ended with a 1-1 draw away in chilly Skopje as the Euro 2020 runners-up rubberstamped their place among the top seeds for next year’s finals.
Monday’s trip to Skopje represented England’s final match on foreign soil before Euro 2024 gets under way in June, and Southgate’s side had to dig deep after falling behind to a team they beat 7-0 in June.
Lewis was unlucky to see a spot-kick awarded against him shortly after Harry Maguire survived making a clumsy challenge in the box, with Enis Bardhi scoring after Jordan Pickford saved his initial spot-kick.
England returned from the break strongly and Southgate quickly turned to Harry Kane, who immediately forced Jani Atanasov into an own goal that would seal the draw.
Not the win we wanted but an unbeaten qualifying campaign and top of the group. Bring on the Euros in the summer! Thanks for all the support