Roy Hodgson hailed Frank Lampard and Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick following England’s victory against Italy.
Both players missed this summer’s European Championship because of injury and underlined how much they were missed by producing impressive displays in the 2-1 win.
“We deserved victory over 90 minutes and there were some very good performances,” said England boss Hodgson.
“When you miss players like Lampard and Carrick because they are not available you are maybe going to regret it because of the quality they bring.”
There was also an England debut for Chelsea full-back Ryan Bertrand, who came on as a second-half substitute.
“There were a lot of players looking to make an impression ahead of the qualifiers and I’m happy with the way they played,” Hodgson added.
“It is the qualifiers that really count but it is nice to know that we have a deeper squad than the one we took to the Euros.”