Clarets defender Tarkowski earns second England cap in victory over Switzerland

Burnley's James Tarkowski
Burnley's James Tarkowski
Share this article

James Tarkowski played an hour to earn his second cap for his country as England beat Switzerland 1-0 at the King Power Stadium.

Tarkowski, forced to withdraw from his nation's standby pool in the summer, was entrusted with the central role in England's back three, the position undertaken by Manchester City's £50m man John Stones during the World Cup in Russia.

It was a huge responsibility placed on the Burnley defender's shoulders by Gareth Southgate and it was an opportunity that he repaid the Three Lions boss with a clean sheet in victory over the Swiss.

The Clarets centre back, who made his international bow in a 1-1 draw against Italy, was given a good workout by the interchangeable Xherdan Shaqiri and Mario Gavranovic, who plys his trade domestically with Dinamo Zagreb.

Tarkowski, 25, was caught cold early on when wanting too much time on the ball as Jack Butland played out from the back.

Shaqiri, signed by Liverpool in the summer, sprung from his blind side to steal possession on the edge of the penalty area but the forward's effort thumped the outside of the post.

Once Eric Dier stooped to head Trent Alexander-Arnold's set-piece wide of the near post, Tarkowski had to be on his toes to prevent the Swiss from getting another eye in on goal.

The defender made up plenty of ground as the last man to recover and block from Gavranovic, who was sent clear by Denis Zakaria's pass.

Tarkowski, attempting to adapt to his unfamiliar positioning, and acclimatising to the style and tempo of international football, didn't fare quite as well moments later when Gavranovic got the better of him, wriggling goal side on to his left foot, but Butland came to his rescue.

Tarkowski settled from that point, gauging the patterns of play from Vladimir Petkovic's side, while understanding the whereabouts of his defensive partners, and England looked more assured as a result.

Aside from Ricardo Rodriguez's deceptive pass, which slid inches past the far post, Switzerland barely impacted in the final third before the break.

Instead it was up to Yann Sommer to keep the tourists in the game. The Borussia Monchengladbach goalkeeper beat away Danny Roses's attempt from Marcus Rashford's cross and then kept out Danny Welbeck.

England opened the scoring in the 54th minute, just minutes before Tarkowski made way for Stones as Southgate made a treble change.

The only goal of the game came from Rashford, sent off at Turf Moor earlier in the month following a dispute with Phil Bardsley.

The Manchester United forward peeled away at the back post to cushion Kyle Walker's delivery through Sommer's legs.

Tarkowski did put Walker under pressure just before his departure, over-hitting a pass that led to Shaqiri breaking in to the box, but the error didn't prove detrimental as England cleared their lines.

Stones showed great heart and determination to prevent Shaqiri from levelling the score later in the half but the defender's indecision gifted substitute Albian Ajeti a chance late on.

Fortunately for England, who lost 2-1 to Spain in their opening UEFA Nations League fixture at Wembley at the weekend, Gavranovic's replacement skewed his shot wide.