England boss Gareth Southgate: There is more to come from us

Raheem Sterling's early header helps the Three Lions register a narrow victory over the Czech Republic to secure the top spot in Group D.

England players during the match against Czech Republic; Credit: [email protected]

England head coach Gareth Southgate insisted that there is more to come from England after securing a narrow victory over the Czech Republic to sail into the knockout stages of Euro 2020. Raheem Sterling’s early headed goal helped the Three Lions to win the match 1-0 at Wembley to clinch the top spot in Group D. However, goal-scoring might be a concern for England as they have found the back of the net only twice in this tournament, with both coming through Sterling. However, they are yet to concede in the tournament and will face any one of France, Germany, Portugal, or Hungary in a last-16 tie at Wembley next Tuesday.

Southgate is pleased to secure a next round clash at Wembley and insisted that “there is more to come from us, definitely.” He added, “We’re not fluent but we have moments where we are a good side. We are still improving. We look difficult to play against. We haven’t scored from a set play yet. I know people laugh about us only scoring from set plays but they are crucial in big matches and we have to get those nailed.

“We wanted to win the group, we wanted to stay at Wembley and we will wait and see who we play tomorrow. They are different sorts of tests but there are a lot of good things we are doing. We have managed to get most of the squad into games, 90 minutes for Harry Maguire which was important, Hendo [Jordan Henderson] got 45 minutes which was a real step forward. There were a lot of positives for us.”

‘We were stable with the ball’

England started the game brightly, with Sterling hitting the post inside two minutes before heading in Jack Grealish’s cross after 12 minutes. That goal was enough to secure the victory for the Three Lions. Grealish was one of four changes made to the squad, the others being Bukayo Saka, Harry Maguire, and Kyle Walker. Southgate praised his players for adapting quickly to the requirements for a match of this magnitude.

“I thought we started really well, we were stable with the ball, we had worked on some of the stuff in training yesterday,” he said. “Credit to the players, some of the stuff we had to adjust without the ball as we had to change what we were doing overnight because of the different personnel. It was a huge credit to the players they were as stable without the ball as they were.

“We’ve played two opponents in the Croats and the Czechs who I think are playing at a very good level. And Scotland, which as an occasion and an experience for our players, especially the younger ones, was a quite unique and really important one, so these will be different games.

“We know world champions, European champions and Germany, who to me look like they’re back on song. They’ve brought some very experienced players back in. So whoever we play, really, really tough opposition but we’ve sort of known that for 18 months. We’ve known the route through.”

On Maguire and Henderson…

Both Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson played for the first time in the tournament on Tuesday night. Maguire replaced Tyrone Mings in the Starting XI, while Henderson made his way on to the pitch as a substitute. “It was a difficult call. Tyrone Mings has been an absolute colossus for us and again came into the game at an important moment and dealt really well with that as well,” Southgate was quoted by skysports.com.

“Harry Maguire has that presence and composure. His pass through to Kane in the first half was a fabulous ball through the lines and there aren’t many defenders in world football who can do that. So, it was important for him to get those 90 minutes.”

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