England England 's … and by desire hunger Southgate impressed Gareth
Thu, 25 Mar 2021 13:00:00 +0000
James Ward-Prowse, Dominic Calvert-Lewin (2), Raheem Sterling and Ollie Watkins were on target
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Gareth Southgate believes England displayed the kind of hunger and attitude required to become a top team during Thursday’s comprehensive World Cup qualification win against San Marino.
The rearranged European Championships may be just months away but the road to next year’s World Cup in Qatar is already under way.
James Ward-Prowse, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Raheem Sterling scored in a one-sided first half against San Marino, with inspired San Marino goalkeeper Elia Benedettini and wayward finishing keeping the score down.
Calvert-Lewin grabbed his second after half-time and replacement Ollie Watkins wrapped up a 5-0 victory with a debut goal on a night when his players’ attitude against the side bottom of FIFA’s world rankings pleased Southgate.
“Of course it’s a game that we’re expected to win and win comfortably,” the Three Lions boss said.
“But I was particularly pleased with the mentality for the full 90 minutes.
“I think that we pressed the ball when we lost it was the biggest indication of that.
The whole team were hungry to play.
“Sometimes these games have been stodgy for us in the past, but I think this team can play slightly differently.
“We have some creative players who can open teams up.
“A lot of those chances were created by the good pressing and winning the ball high up the pitch, but also some of the interchange of position and the vision of the players.
“If we were to be ultra-critical, we probably should have scored more but we also have to say their goalkeeper had an absolutely fantastic game.
“I was very pleased because the behaviours and habits that we showed – to be a top team we have to show those every day, in every training session and in every match.
“Today we respected the game and we went about the job in the right way.”
A debut to remember! 👏 pic.twitter.com/ST4FQmS4F1
— England (@England) March 25, 2021
It was a straightforward first step towards the World Cup, which England will attempt to build on in Albania on Sunday before Poland visit Wembley next Wednesday.
Southgate gave short shrift to suggestions that the match in Tirana may not go ahead – “I’m told that there is no doubt about the game,” he said – and may be tempted to stick with a four-man defence this weekend.
“We’d be foolish to pin ourselves to something now when everything is so fluid and things change so quickly,” said Southgate, who praised “excellent” Jesse Lingard after his first appearance since June 2019.
To be able to wear this shirt again means the world to me! It’s been a long journey back but makes this moment even sweeter!!
🙏🏾🏴❤️ #England #Jlingz pic.twitter.com/GE6QVEIPxy
— Jesse Lingard (@JesseLingard) March 25, 2021
“We’ve got lots of really good competition for places and, yes, we think there are a couple of different ways that we can play and I think that flexibility will be important.
“But the most pleasing thing is the depth.
When we’ve got youngsters like Jude (Bellingham) coming on playing with the type of confidence he did.
“Then to see Ollie come on and get his goal.
I think the reaction to his goal, in particular, told you a lot about this team and this squad.
“They were so pleased for him.
I think they make it easier for young players and new players to come in and be themselves and to bed in.
“I really like the reaction of the team to his goal.”
San Marino goalkeeper Benedettini prevented the night being any worse for the microstate, yet did not escape criticism from manager Franco Varrella.
“If we consider only the final score, England for sure is better than San Marino more than a five-goal difference,” he said.
“I’m a little bit disappointed because I think that we didn’t do well what we’re able to do and what we should have done on the pitch tonight.
“For example, on the second goal that we suffered our goalkeeper could have done better in that situation.
“I’m a little bit disappointed because in certain situations we didn’t try to complicate the life of England tonight.”
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Thu, 25 Mar 2021 13:00:00 +0000
Jude Bellingham's performance for England in their 5-0 victory over San Marino had Roy Keane waxing lyrical about the midfielder
Date published: Friday 26th March 2021 9:12 – Joe Williams
Jude Bellingham’s performance for England in their 5-0 victory over San Marino had Roy Keane waxing lyrical about the Borussia Dortmund midfielder.
The 17-year-old replaced Mason Mount at half-time against the international minnows and impressed in his second appearance for the national team having made his debut in a 3-0 victory over the Republic of Ireland in November 2020.
Bellingham helped England control the midfield again in the second half, showing off a number of nice touches and darting runs, with only a goal missing from his performance.
OPINION: Rating the players: England 5-0 San Marino
And Keane hailed Bellingham for his energetic second-half display despite missing an acrobatic effort to get on the scoresheet.
Speaking on ITV, Keane said: “Bellingham looks like a complete midfielder.
He’s still a kid playing regularly in Germany.
“He’ll be disappointed with missing the chance, but at 17 he has nice composure, happy to break forward, very good night’s work.
“He will be disappointed with the chance, he tries to complicate it when he should just side-foot it.”
Ian Wright and Eni Aluko were the other pundits in the ITV studio with both really impressed by the youngster.
Former Arsenal and England striker Wright said: “Some players want to move it quickly and he has a nice calmness to him, and we’re going to need it.”
Aluko, who won over 100 caps for England, added: “You wouldn’t think he’s 17.
He’s very articulate, he’s only a kid, he shows a level of comfort playing for Dortmund week in week out rather than playing on the bench for a big club.”
And Bellingham wasn’t the only player who impressed Keane on the night with the former Manchester United midfielder believing John Stones must now start for England at the Euros.
“Stones has matured,” Keane added.
“He’s cut out mistakes scored a couple of goals.
“Gareth wants him to play out from the back.
He lost his confidence but he’s bounced back and matured.
I guess he took his eye off the ball and lost focus.
“He could be a big asset for England.
His form would suggest [he’s ahead of Maguire] the form he’s in.
If Gareth plays a back three, Stones would be one of the main guys for that as he’s comfortable in possession.”
A Premier League/FA Cup hybrid weekend means a slightly reduced programme but plenty of quite important matches.
“The rules can change so quickly and while we’re still investigating what’s possible we wanted to name him in the squad.”
Ollie Watkins has been handed his first senior England call-up ahead of Patrick Bamford…
Jordan reckons Scottish side Celtic would be taking a “huge risk” by appointing Keane.
“The one person who will be delighted and happy about his comeback for the national team will be me.”
The focus will be on Juventus, and rightly so.
But Bellingham and Phillips deserve plenty of the spotlight, too.
England have an unbelievable U21 side.
Some players are good enough to conquer any obstacles; they all deserve better.
The international break tends to be accompanied by another rumour of Suarez or Coutinho returning to Liverpool.
Don’t do it.
Rio knows he was chatting sh*te.
He is aware that football fans are not normal customers.
He doesn’t care.
England beat San Marino, predictably.
They didn’t always look particularly convincing in doing so, also predictably.
England have a lot of questions to answer as they head into their penultimate international break before the Euros.
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