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  1. Gareth Southgate has stressed that England will seek to promote from the younger age groups as they enter a "fresh cycle" after the World Cup. Gary Cahill and Jamie Vardy have stepped back from international football, while Raheem Sterling and Adam Lallana have been forced to withdraw from his current squad due to injuries. As England prepare for their Nations League opener against Spain on Saturday, Southgate has yet to name any replacements for the injured duo and is happy to work with the squad he has got rather than bring in younger players before they are ready or go back to players who he feels are unsuited to England's style of play. "We think we've got a strong squad," he told Sky Sports. "We're three games into a new season and we looked through a lot of different players over the last couple of years and decided, because of the way we want to play and the type of players we want to work with, that there are some guys who didn't fit that model. "So now we're into a fresh cycle of probably not going back to players who've been in before and that we've had a good look at. So the next group that we're looking at are probably coming through our younger age groups. "There are a couple of others that are still young, still have room for growth; Chalobah, Will Hughes, Ross Barkley but I don't want to bring them in now, three days into the camp. I'd rather do that when we feel they're ready and that we're looking at them on merit and also, we really like some of the age groups below. "I think they're quite likely to be the guys that push but when you're promoting young players you've got to be really careful with how quickly you do that because you want to bring them in and have them train and adapt to training. "But also [you must] be able to give them game time, otherwise three or four squads down the line it isn't quite as fresh, it isn't quite as unique. I think that has happened a little bit with a couple in the past who then find coming with England is a bit of a negative for them if they don't get on the pitch." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  2. Gareth Southgate has praised his overachieving England side after their World Cup came to an end in the semi-finals at hands of Croatia. Kieran Trippier fired England into a fifth-minute lead but Ivan Perisic forced extra-time, where Mario Mandzukic won the match for the Vatreni. "At the moment we all feel the pain of the defeat," England manager Southgate told FIFA.com. "Did we expect to be in this position? I don't think realistically any of us did. "But when you've got to this point and you've played in the way we have and played as well as we have in the first half you want to take those opportunities in life. "The dressing room is a very difficult place at the moment. But what I will say is I'm remarkably proud of a group of players who have really advanced. "I think the reaction of the supporters to them, compared to two years ago, tells them that, first and foremost, that experiences with England can be positive, the country are very proud of them and the way that they've played and there will in time be a lot of positives to take." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  3. Gareth Southgate has claimed that England will not try to plot their path through the World Cup knockout stages amid suggestions of being better off trying to finish second in their group. The Three Lions take on Belgium on Thursday with top spot in Group G at stake, both sides having already qualified for the last 16 after winning their opening two matches. However, if Brazil finish top of Group E and Germany come second in Group F, whoever finishes second in England's group would avoid them both and plot a favourable route to the semi-finals. Southgate is not keen on trying to manipulate the draw though, saying: "For our country, that would be a very difficult mindset to have. We want to win every game of football we go into. "I don't know how we would go into a game not wanting to win and not wanting to play well. So, I think that's dangerous territory if we start trying to plot and predict where we might end up. "I think we just have to keep playing as well as we can, keep preparing the team the right way, keep the momentum and I have to keep the squad involved. That's the one thing I think is really important." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  4. Dele Alli has been sent for a scan as the England backroom staff assess the thigh injury he picked up in Monday's 2-1 win over Tunisia at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Alli appeared the pull up with a muscle problem during the first half but was kept on for 80 minutes by Gareth Southgate before being substituted for Ruben Loftus-Cheek. The Tottenham Hotspur midfielder will sit out England's training session in Repino on Tuesday to undergo a scan on the injury. "We had to keep monitoring Dele," Southgate said. "He was feeling a little bit of an issue just before half-time, but he felt he could carry on and I thought the runs that he was making and the way he was pressing the ball was still causing a problem. "He had a half chance with a lovely ball Jordan Henderson played to him, lofted over the top. "But we have good options on the bench and we felt to put the freshness of Marcus (Rashford) and Ruben (Loftus-Cheek) would both bring fresh energy but also a different sort threat to the one that we'd posed." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  5. Gareth Southgate has stated that his England players "know their jobs" and "are ready" ahead of their World Cup opener against Tunisia on Monday. The Three Lions trained for the final time at their Repino base on Sunday morning, before travelling to Volgograd to complete their preparations. England have enjoyed a positive build-up and have no injury issues, forward Marcus Rashford having overcome a minor knee problem which prevented him training earlier in the week. "They're ready," Southgate told the England team's YouTube channel on Sunday. "If they played today, they'd be ready. "We've got to make sure they don't do too much physically, don't overload them with information. They're clear on how we want to play, they're clear on the opposition. "I think that's helpful that everything's settled. They know their jobs. The guys who aren't in the team are prepared and have trained well. They become a key part of what we do now. "They have to support the players who are starting, but also be ready because anything can happen before the game, anything can happen during the game. "We only progress as a collective. That's been the mentality from the day we started and will go right through the tournament." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  6. We all know the history. World champions in 1966. The 'Robson Revival' of the 1980's. Euro 96, when 'Football came home'. The 'Golden Generation' which came and went. Expectation turns to hope, hope becomes disappointment, disappointment turns to desperation, until finally we crash out of Euro 2016, humiliated by a country which boasts a population of just 320,000. As we approach the 2018 World Cup in Russia, the expectation for most fans would be to just do us proud. Even the most die-hard England fan would struggle to dream of World Cup glory whilst another humiliating tournament would almost certainly spell disaster. As for myself, I have always watched and supported England and I will always continue to do so. Whether it’s a qualification game against San Marino or a nail biting knockout tie against Germany, I will always support my country. However, I would be lying if I thought we were going to achieve great things this summer. I still believe we have some great attacking players that can light up the World Cup in Russia. Harry Kane has had yet another great season. If it wasn’t for Mohamed Salah, he would have won a third consecutive Golden Boot. Raheem Sterling has just had his greatest season so far, scoring 18 and assisting 17 with title winners Manchester City. Leicester City's Jamie Vardy scored 20 goals in the Premier League, whilst also proving he can consistently score against top opponents. Jesse Lingard has developed into a key player at Manchester United, who has often kept France international Anthony Martial out of the side. And although Marcus Rashford hasn’t had the best season with United, he will go to Russia with no fear, possessing blistering pace to trouble opponents. Although we have plenty of talent going forward, I still believe we lack real quality in one area, which will ultimately be our downfall when coming up against top opponents. The problem? Our defence. In the past we have always produced great defenders. Bobby Moore, the 1966 winning captain, is arguably our best ever. Aside from his leadership qualities, his ability to read the game along with his composure made him world class. The iconic tackle against Jairzinho in the 1970 World Cup is a perfect example of this. Terry Butcher, another great centre back, proved in one blood-soaked image that he would give everything to play for his country and refused to be told otherwise. Tony Adams was a supreme defender. Whether it was his mental and physical resilience on the pitch, his reading of the game or just his sheer desire, he became a rock at the back of the England team. Further down the line, England's 'Golden Generation' produced an array of talent at the back. Two full backs, Gary Neville and Ashley Cole, made the right back and left back position their own for years. Although Neville wasn’t the most attacking player going forward, his defensive qualities along with his brilliant work rate made him one of the best. Cole was more of a threat going forward, but never sacrificed his defensive duties as a result of this. His pace, positioning and overall ability meant that he was once labelled as the best left back in the world. Our two best centre backs during this period, John Terry and Rio Ferdinand, were some of the greatest defenders our country has produced. Terry was a rock at the back, and the Chelsea legend's strong and commanding leadership meant he became an outstanding defender, often being including in England's best ever XI. Ferdinand was a different player to Terry. Whereas JT was often perceived as a no-nonsense English-style central defender, Ferdinand was viewed as a more modern type sweeper, who had the ability to bring the ball out of defence with his feet and who could start off attacks with neat passes to team mates. He was also world class at defending, making it look effortless at times. He would defend with his brain before his body. Since then, England has been lacking real quality in defence. When Iceland knocked us out of Euro 2016, England's defence consisted of Kyle Walker, Gary Cahill, Chris Smalling and Danny Rose. These could hardly be called 'world class' and although Walker and Rose can be great going forward at times, there defensive capabilities can often be second best. As we approach the World Cup, I feel our defence hasn’t improved enough to keep out the best opponents. John Stones, who has plenty of potential to be a future great, has struggled to get into the Man City side on many occasions this season. This has also been the case for Cahill, who has been left out of the Chelsea side on more than one occasion. In fact, none of the defenders picked for the summer have the right mix of quality, form, experience and overall fitness needed to keep the best out. In my opinion, the best solution to this problem is playing with 3 at the back. It looks as if England manager Gareth Southgate is prepared for this. He has experimented with 3 at the back at times, allowing extra cover from the two wing backs. It has allowed England to be more solid at the back, whilst also providing the width needed from the wing backs to provide a threat going forward. Including players like Leicester City defender Harry Maguire allows England to lift their heads and play out with the ball. It has put a bit of optimism back into the England supporters. Although England have been reasonably solid in defence as of late in qualifying and recent friendlies, I still believe we will fail against top opponents once the real football begins. I truly hope this isn't the case and they can prove myself and all the doubters wrong. I hope they can learn from previous experiences and become a solid team, instead of relying on certain individuals. I will continue to support England no matter what and I will be watching eagerly once the tournament begins, hoping for a surprise or two. But from our recent tournaments, it will be a big ask. Share your thoughts about this opinion article on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  7. Gareth Southgate has named his 23-man England squad for the World Cup in Russia this summer. Uncapped 19-year-old Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold is the big surprise in the squad, having has made just three appearances for England's U21s with this his first senior call-up. Defender Gary Cahill has been recalled and there are also places on the plane to Russia for Chelsea team-mate Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope. Goalkeeper Joe Hart and midfielder Jack Wilshere are arguably the biggest omissions from the squad as they have not been included, along with left-back Ryan Bertrand. Liverpool midfielder Adam Lallana is one of five players on standby for the tournament, along with Burnley keeper Tom Heaton, Clarets defender James Tarkowski, Bournemouth's Lewis Cook and fellow midfielder Jake Livermore of West Brom. England start their Group G campaign against Tunisia on 18 June, before playing against Panama and Belgium. Goalkeepers: Jack Butland (Stoke), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Burnley). Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Fabian Delph (Manchester City), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Harry Maguire (Leicester), Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Tottenham Hotspur), Kyle Walker (Manchester City), Ashley Young (Manchester United). Midfielders: Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur), Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Jesse Lingard (Manchester United), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea). Forwards: Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Jamie Vardy (Leicester), Danny Welbeck (Arsenal). Standby: Lewis Cook (Bournemouth), Tom Heaton (Burnley), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), Jake Livermore (West Brom), James Tarkowski (Burnley). Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  8. In recent years, England managers have often chosen players based on playing for big clubs and reputation of the player rather than picking them based on recent form. We as fans have often mentioned names that should be called up because they are in great form but they get overlooked because they are not playing for a 'big club'. Tournament after tournament we have seen our 'World Class' players let us down time and time again. With Gareth Southgate naming his provisional squad for this summer's World Cup this week, Here is a list of players that could deserve a look in. Jonjo Shelvey Consistent performances this season has many fans talking of Shelvey for England. His contribution to Newcastle United has been something many fans doubted in recent years which has seen his attitude rapidly change and becoming a regular performer for his club with excellent work rate and great passing ability. Could be a suitable replacement for the injured Oxlade-Chamberlain. Jamaal Lascelles Newcastle United's skipper guided them to a comfortable mid table finish with solid and consistent performances this season, while being solid at the back he can also cause problems at the other end with his aerial presence. These performances have also seen him being linked with a move away to some of England's big names. Nick Pope With 11 Clean Sheets this season, Pope has filled in Tom Heaton's gloves really well which has helped Burnley gain European Qualification for the first time in over 50 years. James Tarkowski While offensively Burnley haven't been the most prolific, there defensive record has been a key into their European Qualification campaign which has been contributed greatly by the Tarkowski who has been a regular in that back line. These performances seen him gain a call up against Italy earlier this year which an excellent performance was dampened by a controversial penalty given away by Tarkowski late on in the game which ended 1-1. Ryan Sessegnon At the tender age of 17, he has shown that age is nothing but a number by showing maturity on the pitch with great performances which contributed to Fulham almost gaining Automatic Promotion to the Premier League, which was lost on the final day of the season. Amongst many other awards, Sessegnon has picked up both EFL and EFL Young Player of the Year. While still being young, might be useful to keep as an understudy in case of injuries and or tiredness. Trent Alexander-Arnold Another young English Defender making headlines, since coming into the fold at Liverpool he has enjoyed a successful season as a regular starter in which he has helped his club make it into the Champions League Final. Pundits and Fans alike have all suggested a bright future for this defender, who could still be too young for a major tournament, could also be used as a backup in case of injury. Ruben Loftus-Cheek Had a bright debut for England in the games against Brazil and Germany late last year proving critics wrong about his surprise inclusion in the squad by winning Man of the Match in the game vs Germany. Injury after them games dented his chances of a further call up but back at Crystal Palace he has once again proven that he could be set for another call up for his nation. Jack Wilshere Though recent years Wilshere has been subject to many injuries which often makes him unreliable for tournaments, there is no denying that he as the drive and ability to work in Midfield. Given that he his fully fit come the summer, he could a useful asset to the England Midfield. Tammy Abraham Another young talent who made his debut v Germany, he almost capped off that debut with a goal against the reigning World Champions. Having made a great name for himself netting 26 goals in 48 games for Bristol City, this season hasn't been too great for him being at relegated Swansea. With his pace and strength he could be useful to have come the last 20 or so minutes of a game. Lewis Cook Captained the England U20s to a World Cup win in 2017. Confident on the ball, enjoyed a great season at Bournemouth which has been noticed by Gareth Southgate which resulted in him gaining a call up for the game against Italy, even though playing only in the last quarter of that game he looked fitting in that midfield looking comfortable on the ball and having the vision and ability to see and make a pass. Dominic Solanke Another England U20s World Cup winner, Solanke has slowly crept into the Liverpool fold while being alongside the likes of Salah and Firmino. Just like Abraham, he could be utilised as an impact player to come on to bring in fresh legs in the last minutes of the game. Should we remove some of the old guard who have seemingly become complacent?Is it time we introduced young and hungry players to bring back the glory days? We've seen it in the 80s and 90s where our youth has come through the ranks, gave it their all and progress well in major tournaments. Hopefully Southgate will pick a team based on performances and avoid picking the regular big names based on who they are and who they play for. Share your thoughts about this feature article on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  9. Gareth Southgate has claimed that he knows "19 or 20" of the names that will make up his 23-man England squad for the World Cup in Russia this summer. The Three Lions boss spoke after his side's 1-1 friendly draw with Italy, which saw the Azzurri equalise late on through a controversial VAR decision which yielded a penalty. The friendly was the England players' last chance to press home their case for a place on the plane, with the provisional 35-man squad due in with FIFA on May 14, and the final 23-man group required to be finalised by June 4. "There have been some strong performances from individuals that have cemented... not their place in the squad, 19 or 20 of those were pretty clear, (but) it's often who are the next ones in if we get a problem in a particular area," Southgate told reporters on Tuesday. "The things we've tried, we've learned a lot. What's really pleased me is the guys are solving problems on the pitch themselves: changes of formation from the opposition, patterns of working their way through different pressing tactics. "That's a real plus, and will only improve the more we work together. I'm looking forward to the lead-in to a fantastic and exciting tournament for us." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  10. Gareth Southgate has cited "disgusting" racist abuse of England's teenage players on social media as an example of why the country needs to get its "own house in order" before pointing the finger at World Cup hosts Russia. Fears have been raised over the prospect of Three Lions players and fans suffering racist abuse at this summer's tournament due in part to the diplomatic row between the United Kingdom and Russia, and also a number of incidents that have taken place this season. UEFA charged Spartak Moscow for racist chanting during a Youth League fixture against Liverpool in December, with their defender Leonid Mironov charged with racially abusing Reds striker Rhian Brewster, though the charge was later dropped. However, Southgate stressed that England must "get our own house in order" on racism before making accusations about other countries, citing the comments made on a picture of an England youth team on social meia. "We keep pointing the finger at Russia on racism, but we've got to get our own house in order," Southgate told a press conference ahead of Friday's friendly with the Netherlands. "I can give you an example. I had a really interesting couple of hours with (racism campaigner) Troy Townsend a couple of weeks ago, speaking to our coaches. He showed a picture of our Under-16s on social media. The comments about that team were disgusting. They're part of our England family. "We have a club environment at St George's Park. It is our training ground. Our teams mix and the youngsters look up to the senior team. I know most of those young players really closely and I've seen them come through. To see them abused in that way is absolutely disgusting. When we speak about other countries, I find it difficult to deflect what we've seen there. "We have got to get our own house in order. There are still things going on in our own country around racism that aren't correct. We keep pointing the finger at Russia, where we are going to be guests in the next couple of months, but we haven't resolved the issue in our own country and until we do I think we should stop firing those things off elsewhere." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  11. England manager Gareth Southgate has confirmed that he is keeping a close eye on Bayer Leverkusen starlet Leon Bailey. The 20-year-old winger has been impressive for the Bundesliga side since joining the club in a £13m deal from Belgian outfit Genk in January 2017. Bailey has scored nine goals and chipped in with five assists in 22 league matches this season, helping fourth-placed Leverkusen's charge for Champions League qualification. Like Manchester City forward and Three Lions star Raheem Sterling, Bailey is born in Kingston, the capital of Jamaica. Although Bailey has played for the Reggae Boyz's Under-23 side, he is eligible to play for England due to two of his grandparents holding British passports. "Well, I'd have to say until a few months ago we had no indication that he was eligible for England," Southgate told BBC Sport. "That's still a process that is ongoing and now that issue has been flagged, he's somebody we'll monitor more closely. "But that's more for our talent identification department at this stage than it is for my selection in the short term." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  12. It may sound like pure madness when I start off this article by suggesting that I would have preferred a tougher group for England. However, I do feel that a lot of our failings to progress on the international scene is largely down to the fact we have such an easy pathway during competitions. Whilst some football fans may cry out ‘we’ve been drawn to Belgium’, for me they are about as overrated as you can get. Naturally at club level they have some fantastic players, yet to see such flops as Marouane Fellaini dub their shirt, it just makes me feel like they’re trying to play down this ‘golden generation’ tag that we often hear people speak of. After all what have they done in any major competition that is worthy of praise? And whilst England might not be setting the world alight, Gareth Southgate is trying to take the squad through a transitional period which has been majorly lacking due to us ourselves picking the wrong players to represent our national team. I would have preferred Group D myself, replacing Croatia with England. All 8 groups look fairly easy for all the bigger nations, yet Argentina in the group stage would have been a nice game to see play out early – with Nigeria also being a fairly decent team and, in Iceland, a team which England would definitely take seriously to avenge what happened at Euro 2016. Each team would have been a decent test, compared to Panama and Tunisia – watch the Three Lions now make a total meal of these games. I suppose you could argue that with such nations like Italy and Netherlands having failed to grace the tournament, England are indeed fortunate to have made it themselves, yet qualification isn’t something we tend to struggle with. Yes, it leaves the groups looking quite flexible and if England can top the group, well you may be thinking what I am right now. But again I come back to the fact that we struggle against sides we should be confident to play against, whilst being underprepared and out of depth when it comes to fancy the favourites of lifting the World Cup. I suppose it could be worse, host nation Russia have to fend off a decent Egypt and Uruguay who have some world class players. Yet if England had been drawn in Group A, I would have been confident that England should progress to the knockout stages. Overall I am just like meh when it comes to the draw, I’m not really excited and I can’t say I am surprised. Progression to the last 16 should be quite interesting, I do admit, yet with a chance for England to become complacent in the early stages of the competition, I do honestly feel like "here's a repeat of the Euros" and by this I mean largely playing poorly because we don’t seem to take these things very seriously anymore. The competition should be entertaining at least, with some good games such as Portugal v Spain – Argentina v Croatia – Germany v Mexico and of course ourselves in Belgium v England. It will also be interesting to see how the underdogs do, I always enjoy watching them progress and a few years back I actually tipped Costa Rica to do well (before they had played England). Let’s hope the Three Lions can draw from some inspiration, reflect on the draw and just finally believe in themselves. Share your thoughts about this feature article on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  13. England have been drawn with Belgium, Tunisia and Panama in Group G of the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia. Gareth Southgate's charges will begin their tournament against Tunisia on Monday, 18 June (7pm BST) in Volgograd. The Three Lions will then face Panama in Nizhny Novgorod on 24 June (1pm BST) before playing top seeds Belgium four days later in Kaliningrad (7pm BST). Hosts Russia play Saudi Arabia in the World Cup's opening game in Moscow on 14 June (4pm BST). Holders Germany are in Group F with Mexico, Sweden and South Korea while five-time WC winners Brazil are in Group E alongside Switzerland, Costa Rica and Serbia. The 2018 tournament takes place in 12 stadiums across Russia between 14 June and 15 July. Notable absentees from the finals of the competition include Italy, the Netherlands, Chile, the United States and Ghana. Full World Cup group stage draw: Group A: Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Uruguay Group B: Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Iran Group C: France, Australia, Peru, Denmark Group D: Argentina, Iceland, Croatia, Nigeria Group E: Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Serbia Group F: Germany, Mexico, Sweden, South Korea Group G: Belgium, Panama, Tunisia, England Group H: Poland, Senegal, Colombia, Japan Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  14. Jose Mourinho has hit out at the England national team after claiming Manchester United were not informed about Phil Jones' pain-killing injections while he was away on international duty. The 25-year-old was forced to return to his club midway through the recent international break after aggravating a thigh injury. Jones was substituted midway through the first half of the Three Lions' goalless draw with Germany after receiving six injections of local anaesthetic ahead of kick-off at Wembley. Jones was subsequently ruled out of Manchester United's win over Newcastle United on Saturday and Mourinho says he was not consulted about the injections. When asked if he had spoken to England boss Gareth Southgate, Mourinho is quoted by Sky Sports as saying: "No. I think it's a conversation between doctors because I'm not a doctor. "I just get information from my doctor, and the information from my doctor was that they consult him in relation to Phil Jones with a little problem in the knee when the national team starts working. "But then no more contact. The local injections before the match, we were not informed [about]. Apart from that, I don't have to speak with Southgate. I just wish [him] good and want him to be successful." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  15. Gareth Southgate has praised England's back three after they kept Brazil at bay in Tuesday's goalless draw at Wembley. Joe Gomez, John Stones and Harry Maguire dealt well against a side whose attacking trident consisted of Neymar, Gabriel Jesus and Philippe Coutinho as the Three Lions claimed what Southgate described as a "very credible" result. Tuesday's friendly followed the goalless draw with world champions Germany on Friday, capping off an impressive pair of performances against top international sides. "I thought they were all excellent," Southgate told Sky Sports News. "Joe has been given the man-of-the-match award and rightly so. "We know his athleticism is a real asset, but there was also his decision-making and his calmness in the face of high quality movement and high-quality through passes that he had to read. "In the two games, I think John Stones has really shown his defensive attributes. "He's looked really mature, controlled the line and taken pride in his defending as well as being calm in possession. I think that's a significant step for him. "They are not going to face more difficult tests than they have had in the two matches we have had, and they have come through them with two clean sheets. "The system has worked well. Collectively we have worked well. They had control of the game tonight and they were the most dangerous team, no doubt about that, but we have limited both teams to very few clear-cut chances. "There's lots for us to improve with the ball but for me there are really positive signs. We could put young players in and go and get beaten by four and you then question the decision, but they have really stepped up in the two matches. "The learning will have been enormous but they can also take a huge amount from both occasions." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  16. Brazil boss Tite believes that England are one of the favourites to win next year's World Cup. On Tuesday night, the Selecao face the Three Lions at Wembley with both sides looking to fine-tune preparations ahead of the finals in Russia. However, Tite has praised the quality in both the England squad and the Premier League, claiming it makes Gareth Southgate's team a threat in next year's competition. The 56-year-old is quoted by AFP as saying: "Even though Southgate has only had 13 games [as manager] so far, with Dele Alli, Kane and the experience of [Gary] Cahill, that tradition counts, so I see England as one of the favourites. "I'm not just saying that because I'm here at Wembley, speaking in front of English people. Compared to Japan, the technical demands of [Tuesday's] game are going to be higher. "Historically, England's [football is a mix between technical football, on the floor, but also physical contact, quality, short passing, triangulation. "In the Premier League there are so many foreign coaches and different players. It's a very strong league with different styles." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  17. Gareth Southgate says he was 'encouraged' by the performance from his young England side against Germany on Friday night. The Three Lions manager handed five players their first senior caps during the 0-0 draw at Wembley, with Jordan Pickford, Tammy Abraham and Ruben Loftus-Cheek starting the game. Despite the makeshift look of the injury-hit England team, Southgate was pleased with his side and singled out the Crystal Palace midfielder for his man-of-the-match turn. "I'm really not surprised by what [the young players] have done because they've shown that previously in other ages and this week in training. There has been an energy about the group," he told Sky Sports after the game. "It seemed as if there has been loads of pull-outs but actually, it's been really tight and without getting too carried away, I thought the performance was a really encouraging one. "Loftus-Cheek is a player I've watched do that since U16 level, and despite his size and appearance and the way he plays, he's not hugely confident at times. I think tonight, it took him 10 minutes to have a look around and realise, 'I can do this'. "He's got so many good attributes and that's why we put him into the team. I don't think the wider public will be as aware of him, you would have to have followed him very closely, but we believe in him and the others we played. "It was a brilliant experience for our players and we've now got to see if we can try and replicate that against a side who rested a lot of their players today on Tuesday. For me, it was a real positive tonight." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  18. England manager Gareth Southgate has claimed that rumours of a row between the national side and Premier League clubs are "nonsense". Tottenham Hotspur duo Harry Kane and Harry Winks were forced to pull out of the Three Lions squad ahead of their friendlies against Germany and Brazil. Meanwhile Manchester City's Raheem Sterling and Fabian Delph, along with Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson and Spurs' Dele Alli, were unavailable for England ahead of the squad announcements. "I am hearing this talk of club v country but it is a nonsense," Southgate told Sky Sports ahead of Friday's friendly against Germany. "The players are injured and cannot play. "I knew Harry Kane was in trouble because he stayed down [in the 1-0 win over Crystal Palace]. Harry Kane doesn't stay down [unless he is injured]. "I knew already we had a potential problem. Both him and Harry Winks were scanned. Both scans our medical department have viewed and no way they are available for our two games. "Spurs might risk them for the game against Arsenal but that is a different matter. "Having been a player I am not a manager who wants to wheel players out until they break, so I don't take risks with players. It's their livelihood, it's their career. "As a manager, you have a duty of care to your players to make sure things are done correctly. "The last two international weeks, every player that has gone back from here has been available to play for their club the following weekend." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  19. Gareth Southgate has suggested that Chris Smalling's omission from his 25-man England squad was due to the Manchester United man not being able to play the ball from the back. The Three Lions face both Germany and Brazil at Wembley this month and Southgate has handed first senior call-ups to Tammy Abraham, Joe Gomez and Ruben Loftus-Cheek. Smalling was an unused substitute in England’s victories over Slovenia and Lithuania last month, as the team qualified for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, but was not named on Thursday afternoon. Asked about his decision to omit the centre-back, Southgate explained: ‘I have huge respect for Chris. He is a player playing at a big club. ‘We want to play in a certain way and the players I have brought in I want to see using the ball from the back and building it up in a certain way. ‘Young’s performances warrant a recall. We want to play with wing-backs – I think it’s a role he can perform, left or right, very well. He’s played very well for Manchester United. ‘Generally speaking we want to look at younger players, and develop the team, but I’ve always said if a more senior player is playing well and warrants the call-up, we should include them.’ Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  20. Arsenal attacker Theo Walcott has revealed his frustration at his lack of playing time this season and believes it may impact on his England chances. The 28-year-old started just his fourth game of the campaign on Thursday night, setting up Olivier Giroud's late winner in the Europa League tie against Red Star Belgrade. Walcott has been restricted to just three substitute appearances in the Premier League, meanwhile, but he is not giving up hope of adding to his 47 Three Lions caps before next summer's World Cup in Russia. Asked if he was motivated to force his way back into Gareth Southgate's plans, he told reporters: "Of course. That is why I need to be playing football, simple as that. But I need to deserve to be playing. So in this competition, cup games, Premier League when given the chance, I need to take it. "That is the only chance I have to get back into the England squad. It is down to hard work. If I work harder than anyone else... I know my qualities, how good I am. I have got so much experience under my belt, there's no reason why I can't prove people wrong and get back in that squad. "It is a very young squad and I feel like maybe a bit of experience is always handy coming into tournaments. But the manager picks that [the squad]. I can't lie, it has obviously been very difficult the way the season has started. I had such a big influence last year and the amount of goals I scored but now it has been a bit of a stuttering start to the season. "The manager knows that I've always been there for him. I have managed to bounce back from worse things but it is just one of those things in football you have got to deal with. I am dealing with it in the right way and that's to be completely focused. That's all I can be." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  21. Gareth Southgate has called on England supporters to back his young team after they secured World Cup qualification on Thursday night. Harry Kane's late winner earned a 1-0 victory for the Three Lions over Slovenia at Wembley, which booked their place at next year's tournament in Russia. Southgate acknowledged he knows "exactly where they must improve" after an uninspiring performance, but the England boss believes his team will get better as the competition approaches. "As a young team, what they are having to deal with in terms of expectation and criticism of their performances, it is tough for them," Southgate told Sky Sports. "They are young players we have to try to get behind. "They are giving absolutely everything they have got. They don't have Champions League-winning medals throughout this group, they don't have Premier League-winning medals. They are a work in progress. "But they will give everything they've got for the shirt and they are going to improve over the next few years. They are suffering a little bit from the consequence of the last 25 or 30 years. That isn't their fault so we have to give them the belief and the backing to achieve." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  22. England have the chance to book their place at the 2018 World Cup with one game to spare when they host Slovenia at Wembley tonight. Gareth Southgate's charges need just two points from their remaining two Group F games to secure an automatic spot in next summer's tournament in Russia. England are currently top of the group and five points ahead of second-placed Slovakia, while Slovenia are third. History England and Slovenia have met five times over the years, with the first fixture coming on 5 September 2009 in a friendly at Wembley which the hosts won 2-1 thanks to a Frank Lampard penalty and a Jermain Defoe strike. The Three Lions have won four of the encounters, with the only exception coming in the reverse fixture in Ljubljana just over a year ago in a goalless draw which marked Gareth Southgate's first away game in charge of his country. Slovenia have only visited Wembley twice before, both of which ended in defeat. The most recent of those came in November 2014 when England were forced to come from behind after a Jordan Henderson own goal, with Wayne Rooney quickly responding before a Danny Welbeck brace handed them a 3-1 victory. Only one encounter has been at a major tournament, with England claiming a 1-0 win over Slovenia in the 2010 World Cup group stages. Team news Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Harry Winks has been called up for the first time after injury forced Phil Jones and Fabian Delph out of the England squad. Southgate named a 26-man squad for the double-header, but injuries forced the England boss to make some alterations on Monday. Delph, called up by Southgate for the first time, played the entirety of Manchester City's Premier League win at Chelsea on Saturday. However, he has withdrawn from the squad after a reported muscle strain was assessed at St George's Park. Manchester United defender Jones, meanwhile,was involved for the full 90 minutes against Crystal Palace over the weekend, but he too missed training on Monday and has since left the camp. Winks has come in as a result of the injuries - the 21-year-old's first senior call-up. According to Sky Sports, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will start for England against Slovenia in an attacking quartet with Raheem Sterling, Marcus Rashford and Harry Kane. Kane will captain the side, with Sterling stepping into the role left by the suspended Dele Alli, and joining Oxlade-Chamberlain and Rashford in behind the Spurs talisman. Joe Hart is also expected to retain his place in goal despite receiving treatment on an ankle problem this week. The West Ham loanee started in the win over Slovakia last month, while Man City defender John Stones is understood to be starting alongside Gary Cahill at centre-back. Slovenia, meanwhile, look to be heading into the tie with a full-strength squad, with Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Jan Oblak expected to start in goal. England squad in full: Joe Hart (West Ham, on loan from Man City), Fraser Forster (Southampton), Jack Butland (Stoke), Jordan Pickford (Everton); Ryan Bertrand (Southampton), Aaron Cresswell (West Ham), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Harry Maguire (Leicester), John Stones (Manchester City), Michael Keane (Everton), Chris Smalling (Manchester United), Kyle Walker (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Tottenham); Eric Dier (Tottenham), Fabian Delph (Manchester City), Jake Livermore (West Brom), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Liverpool), Jesse Lingard (Manchester United), Dele Alli (Tottenham); Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Harry Kane (Tottenham), Jermain Defoe (Bournemouth), Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool). Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  23. Former England captain Bryan Robson has claimed that there is no clear candidate to lead the national team anymore. Jordan Henderson, Harry Kane, Gary Cahill and Joe Hart are the four current squad members to have captained the side under Gareth Southgate. Wayne Rooney initially wore the armband but a lack of form led the England boss to experiment before his international retirement. "I don't think it's a burden," Robson told Sky Sports. "It's just a player who can lead by example and enjoy the role and take on what the coach is saying and just help your team-mates. "I think that's part of it but I just don't think there is any standout player out there, who stands out and you say 'he should definitely be the England captain'." Robson also urged the side to reconsider their preparations for national tournaments. "We need to build confidence to try and enjoy the tournament rather than be a little bit afraid of it because they're thinking about all of the pressures rather than just relaxing and enjoying themselves," he said. "I think the England squad as a group, hopefully when we do qualify, when we get to that competition situation next summer, hopefully they can mentally handle it." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  24. England manager Gareth Southgate has praised Marcus Rashford's ability following their World Cup 2-1 qualifying win over Slovakia, but believes the striker could yet make more improvements. The 19-year-old lost the ball in the build up to the first goal, which was netted by Slovakia inside the first three minutes of Monday's match at Wembley. However, Rashford found the winner after Eric Dier's equaliser to leave his country needing just one win to qualify for next summer's World Cup in Russia. "We didn't start the game well but I was pleased with the way the players reacted on the field," Southgate told BBC Sport. "They got themselves into better positions. We were stretched in the first 15 minutes or so. "Great credit to the players for staying in the game and then in the second half we were in control. We didn't give them space to play. "Rashford showed everything he has tonight. At times he has to do better but his work on the ball, the maturity of his performance and his ability to go past people was devastating to the opposition and lifted the whole crowd." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  25. England boss Gareth Southgate has spoken fondly of Phil Jones ahead of the crucial World Cup qualifier with Slovakia. The defender has suffered injury problems for a number of years but when fit, the centre-back has impressed for Manchester United and the 25-year-old's form has led to a spot in Southgate's starting lineup. Southgate has confirmed that Jones will feature against Slovakia at Wembley Stadium, with the Three Lions manager saying that he regards the former Blackburn Rovers man as the nation's best defender based on current form. The 47-year-old told reporters: "Not just this season but there was a long period in the middle of last season where I think he has been the best defender. "He's got very good composure on the ball. He's got the reading of the game, he's aggressive in his defending - which I like - and I think he has got fantastic experience, although he is still only relatively young. "Obviously he has missed a lot of football. I remember watching him against Spain under Fabio [Capello] so we are going back quite a long way since he made his debut. "He's had great experiences with club and country. He organises well, he competes well so I'm delighted we've been able to involve him this time and it was clear the other night [against Malta] what he brings to the team." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.

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