sport news Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins passes England audition in front of national ...

Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins passes England audition in win against Everton in front of national team boss Gareth Southgate Watkins, as well as Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin, will have impressed  The forward's Villa team-mates Matt Targett and Matty Cash also played well  Southgate will also have noted the superb form of goalkeeper Jordan Pickford

By Dominic King At Goodison Park For The Daily Mail

Published: 22:31 BST, 2 May 2021 | Updated: 22:34 BST, 2 May 2021

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Gareth Southgate rose from his seat in the Director's Box and shoved a notepad into his pocket. It had been a busy night and the page on which England's head coach had been scribbling was almost out of space.

Southgate has been a frequent visitor to Goodison Park in recent months but it is doubtful he will have left this stadium with as much information to digest as he did on this occasion. Everywhere he looked, there was something to consider as he formulates his European Championship plans.

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He would have received clarity on the form of Jordan Pickford, for starters. When Southgate watched Everton play Leicester in January, the mistake he made that night suggested he had a battle on his hands to begin the tournament but now all doubt has been removed.

Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins (right) impressed in his side's 2-1 away win against Everton

Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins (right) impressed in his side's 2-1 away win against Everton

England manager Gareth Southgate (centre) is likely to have noted down his fine performance

England manager Gareth Southgate (centre) is likely to have noted down his fine performance

Pickford's brilliance kept Everton in this contest far longer than their impoverished efforts deserved and only an injury will stop him lining up against Croatia on June 13. 

He is better than Dean Henderson and Nick Pope and his form is improving at the right time. There was little he could have done about the goals he conceded, particularly Anwar El Ghazi's howitzer that proved decisive.

Other players will have had their names jotted down, such as Villa's energetic full-backs Matty Cash and Matt Targett, while it was intriguing, too, to see Ross Barkley – back on familiar territory – perform with dash. 

He was excellent but, you sense, it is too little, too late. Southgate will also know Jack Grealish is expected to

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