James breaks unwanted England record as more poor discipline shown under Southgate

Reece James EnglandGetty Images

Reece James has become the first England player to be sent off on his starting debut as Gareth Southgate's Three Lions again suffered issues with their discipline in the 1-0 Nations League loss to Denmark on Wednesday.

James was shown a red card after the final whistle for dissent against referee Jesus Gil Marzano, while Harry Maguire was also given his marching orders following a second yellow in the first half at Wembley.

Danish playmaker Christian Eriksen scored the only goal of the game from the penalty spot shortly after Maguire's sending off, as England dropped to third position in Nations League group A2 and face a battle to qualify for the competition's finals.

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Despite the disappointing end to his full international debut, James impressed in a right-wing back role, with team-mate Declan Rice saying the 20-year-old looked like a seasoned international veteran.

"Reece James looked like he'd been out here for 30-40 caps tonight," Rice said to BBC's 5Live post-match. "I've been with him since the Under-8s and I know he's capable of that.

"He's a fantastic young player and gives us another option going forward and I don't think that sending off should affect how positively we look at his performance.

"Until [Maguire's] sending off happened I thought we were playing really well and using the ball really well. Reece James and Mason Mount were creating some great chances for us but we just couldn't put the ball in the back of the net."

The red cards received by James and Maguire means England has had three players sent off in a calendar year for the first time, with Kyle Walker shown two yellows against Iceland in September.

Maguire was sent from the field in the 31st minute after a poor first touch saw him catch Kasper Dolberg - with the Man Utd skipper arguably lucky to not see red when he was flashed a yellow card after five minutes for a lunge on Yussuf Poulsen.

England skipper Harry Kane believed that the two incidents were a by-product of the team's desire to win the match, and said he felt James would deal with the frustration better next time.

"I think it's one of those games, when as professional athletes, you lay your heart on the line and a few things don't go your way, it's part of the learning curve," Kane said to Sky Sports.

"I'm sure Reece will learn from it. When you're going at 120% and things don't quite happen it's frustrating."

England now rank third in their Nations League group as they sit level with Denmark on seven points but are behind on goal difference.

With two matches remaining, Belgium lead the group on nine points with only the top spot set to qualify for the Nations League finals.