KEIR RADNEDGE at WEMBLEY: Spain picked themselves perfectly from their World Cup nightmare by defeating England 2-1 at Wembley to launch their UEFA Nations League campaign.

La Roja had tumbled out of the finals in Russia ignominiously amid confusion after sacking manager Julen Lopetegui on the eve of the tournament because he has agreed to take over Real Madrid after the return home.

Successor Luis Enrique, understandably, was more than satisfied to begin his reign as Spain did.

He said: “Winning like this is good for everyone, particularly in our first game after a week of hard work. I can’t think of a better start than beating England at Wembley. It was a great victory.

“I liked the attitude for the whole game. We have room for improvement like what happened at the end of the game when we suffered a lot but that’s only normal playing England at Wembley.

“I’m especially happy about David De Gea’s performance in goal. He’s one of the best goalkeepers in the world and I never had any doubts about him despite what happened at the World Cup for him. Your mistakes sometimes help you grow up.”

Enrique said he was unable to see sufficiently the stoppage-time incident when Danny Welbeck was refused an equaliser on scoring after a collision which knocked the ball out of De Gea’s hands.

‘Equaliser’ issue

Spain’s coach said: “I didn’t have a clear view of the play. David said to me that he was fouled but, in any case, I think we have to think not about only that but about all the match and we deserved to win.”

England manager Gareth Southgate disagreed.

He said: “I think the two defenders tried to block Danny and then De Gea came over the top and dropped the ball and it should have been a goal but, over the 90 minutes, Spain were better than us for long periods of the game. Their retention of the ball was top class.

“We’ve got to be brave enough to stick to our principles. That’s not going to be an easy task but I’m proud of the way the players finished the game because I’ve seen teams fold in that situation. We finished strongly and probably had as many shots on target as they had. I couldn’t have asked any more of the players.”

Southgate said that Luke Shaw, carried off after a second-half collision with Dani Carvajal, had revived in the dressingroom and was “talking and seems fairly comfortable.”