Gareth Southgate praised Rico Lewis after the debutant recovered from a controversial penalty awarded during his impressive first cap for England away to North Macedonia.
An unbeaten year that began with victory in Italy ended with a 1-1 draw away in chilly Skopje as the Euro 2020 runners-up confirmed their place as top seeds in next year’s final.
Monday’s trip to Skopje was England’s final match on foreign soil before the start of Euro 2024 in June and Southgate’s side had to dig deep after falling behind to the team they beat 7-0 in June.
Lewis was unlucky to see a penalty awarded to him shortly after Harry Maguire survived a clumsy charge inside the box and Enis Bardi scored after Jordan Pickford had his first penalty saved.
England came back strongly from the break and Southgate quickly switched to Harry Kane, who immediately forced Yani Atanasov into an own goal to seal the tie.
Not the victory we wanted, but an unbeaten qualifying campaign and leadership in the group. Meet the euro in summer! Thank you all for your support