A swathe of praise has rolled in for Manchester City starlet Rico Lewis after the versatile defender impressed during his senior England debut.

The Three Lions closed their EURO 2024 qualification campaign with a 1-1 draw with North Macedonia having already secured passage to the major tournament before the clash at Tose Proeski Arena.

Alongside Club colleagues Kyle Walker, Phil Foden and Jack Grealish, our Academy graduate started and played the full 90 minutes in Skopje.

Following an excellent display for Gareth Southgate’s side, where he shook off the disappointment of handing the hosts a dubious penalty, Lewis was voted Player of the Match.


In the wake of a superb start to his senior international career, there was no shortage of praise for the 19-year-old from players, press and pundits alike.

Former City and England defender Joleon Lescott, who was part of Channel 4’s team covering the fixture, said:  “He came in and it didn’t look like his debut and that is the biggest compliment.”

Joining the 2012 Premier League winner on the broadcaster’s punditry panel was ex-Three Lions midfielder Joe Cole who further amplified Lewis’ display.

He said: “[He was] outstanding.

Pep Guardiola waxed lyrical about him and tonight he was so difficult to pick up for the opposition. 

“He allowed England to build through the lines much better than they did against Malta.

“He was effective. I think he is an outstanding footballer and given Gareth Southgate another real option in that position.”

It wasn’t just former Three Lions players who hailed Lewis’ display against North Macedonia.

His national team boss Southgate, as well as teammates Harry Kane and Walker all sounded the salute to the teenager as well.


Southgate declared: “I thought he was excellent. His ability to receive in tight areas was a standout.

“His bravery with the ball, but also the resilience to come back from a bit of a setback that was no fault of his own.

“He’s a unique player because working out the specifics of the role and where that all fits is really interesting. His ability to keep possession and do that well under pressure is a fabulous asset to have.”

Kane added: “I thought he was really good, with the ball and without the ball. It’s a shame about the penalty but he can be very proud of his debut.

“I thought he was fantastic all throughout the game, he needs to keep working hard as I’m sure he will and I’m sure he will be back with us and try to get on the pitch.”

Walker captained the Three Lions for the first time in the draw with Blagoja Milevski’s side and he spoke of his delight for Lewis: “He’s a great lad he and shows day in day out, the quality to play for a team like we have got - he deserves this cap because I think he has been fantastic.”

Taking to Instagram after England’s final Euro qualifier, Lewis wrote: “Thank you to everyone who has supported me on this journey so far. It is an honour of a lifetime to represent England.”

Following this, comments from current Club teammates and former Academy colleagues flooded in.

Oscar Bobb penned ‘wow’ while Jack Grealish posted two clapping hand emojis.

Ex-Elite Development Squad captain Shea Charles shared ‘love it mate’ before Alex Robertson wrote ‘well done mate’ and Max Alleyne commented ‘congrats bro’.

What’s more, The Independent’s Michael Jones noted: “Rico Lewis certainly did his chances of going to the tournament no harm on his debut.

“During a Player of the Match performance, he was a bundle of energy filling in at left-back when England had slim options to choose from.

“He pushed into midfield, joined the attack, found space, took shots, tracked back and was seemingly all over the pitch.

“A harsh penalty decision going against him did not seem to dampen his spirts after the game either.”

Congratulations to Rico on making his England senior debut from everyone at Manchester City!