There is not a huge sample pool from which to draw but there are some uncanny similarities when England play at St Mary’s. Mainly that there are plenty of goals and England don’t start well.

It was way back in October 2002 that the Three Lions last turned up in Southampton for a senior men’s international.

On that occasion the team contained the likes of David Seaman, Gary Neville, David Beckham, Paul Scholes and Michael Owen.

It was Seaman whose England career was brought to a shuddering halt as his error in letting in a corner from Artim Sakiri let the comparative minnows of Macedonia stun Sven Goran-Eriksson’s team by taking a shock lead early on.

But if anybody thought 11 minutes into the match was early for a moment like that then it had nothing on what happened last night.

This time it was the minnows of Kosovo, who border Macedonia, providing the opposition, and they took a shock lead after 34 seconds.

Michael Keane bungled, passing the ball straight to Vedat Muriqi, who fed Valon Berisha. The attacker showed great composure to sweep home past the advancing Jordan Pickford to stun the crowd.

In 2002 it took England three minutes to draw level. This time it was a comparatively sluggish seven.

Ross Barkley’s right wing corner was headed back across goal by Keane and found Raheem Sterling who had the simple task of steering home from close range.

There the similarities in performance ended.

Whereas Macedonia went on to secure a 2-2 draw, Kosovo were outclassed before restoring a bit of pride.

Harry Kane’s left footed drilled finish after Sterling’s superb turn and run put England ahead.

After a quieter period the fireworks really started as rampant England piled on the pressure and Kosovo leaked a remarkable three goals in seven minutes to go in 5-1 down at half time.

Jadon Sancho’s quick feet bought him space to drill a cross into the six yard box that the hapless Mergim Vojvoda put into his own net under no pressure.

It was 4-1 as Sterling delivered another assist, this time with a run down the left and pass to Sancho who finished at the near post.

And the same pair combined again as Sterling burst forward again and squared to Sancho for an easy finish.

England’s start to the second half was little better than the first. This time they conceded within three minutes.

A simple diagonal ball found Berisha and he once again showed admirable poise to bend a shot into the opposite top corner.

Kosovo had the bit between their teeth and made it 5-3 on 55 minutes from the penalty spot, Muriqi finishing past Pickford after being felled by Harry Maguire.

Amazingly, there were no further goals despite a host of chances that included Kane having a penalty saved by Arijant Muric and the keeper deflecting Sterling’s shot on to the post with his legs.

The evening produced a remarkable match and a global showcase of some of the best and worst things about Southampton.

For the vast majority of spectators who would have watched on TV, St Mary’s must have looked spectacular.

The brightness of the party that England bring with them on their travels, the slickness of the show they run around the football was impressive.

The pomp and ceremony under the lights of the national anthems while unformed men and women covered the length of St Mary’s with, quite literally, flags of Three Lions, was an amazing sight.

The atmosphere and the noise was also superb.

There were clearly a lot of travelling England fans in town for the game as well as some locals as well and they were fairly boisterous, singing and chanting their way through much of the match.

The Kosovans were also a lively bunch.

In the city centre and around the ground they were buoyant, having a great day, many in traditional dress determined to have their big day out no matter what.

But it was the getting there and getting away that was a problem for so many of the 30,155 in attendance.

Plenty of bemused visitors struggled to understand how a city could be brought to a virtual standstill by one incident on a motorway and a game of football. Welcome to Southampton, though this was spectacular gridlock even by these lofty standards.

That meant depleted numbers at kick-off as people piled into the ground a little late, though the majority might have been glad to have skipped the opening 34 seconds.

It was a pity that there was no Saints representation to get excited about in the England side.

In 2002, born and bred Wayne Bridge was playing for England. This time there wasn’t even a Saints player in the squad, just some who had previous connections which is not quite the same.

One former Saints employee who kept popping up was Les Reed, the former vice-chairman who is now technical director at The FA.

He was pitchside, by the dressing rooms, watching from the box. Indeed, there were more sightings of Reed around St Mary’s than it felt as if there were in his last two years as a club official.

Ultimately, this was a fine occasion for Southampton, and a welcome return for England.

It is a good thing that The FA take the team out on tour even when they could play at Wembley, allowing more people the opportunity to see the side play near home and without the expense and time it takes to get to the national stadium.

Despite the road misery, Southampton is a city that can host big events and it is a shame that it misses out on more.

St Mary’s is its big venue and with the club seeing there is a community aspect to hosting concerts at the stadium again, and getting various internationals including England’s men’s and women’s teams, only helps increase its and the city’s reputation.

And Saints contributing to that by ensuring Southampton’s biggest venue isn’t empty for all but around 20 days in the year can have a huge economic impact on the area too, as no doubt last night’s game did.

The fact it ended up being such a talking point thanks to the weight of goals only adds to it.

Hopefully it won’t be another 17 years until the senior England men’s team return.