• News

Southgate pleased with England mentality after San Marino rout

Getty Images

Gareth Southgate would have been pleased to see his England side brush aside their opponents with ease on Thursday night.

Gareth Southgate says England showed the right hunger and attitude in their convincing victory over San Marino in the World Cup qualifiers.

Prior to Thursday’s game, the Three Lions claimed a 6-0 win the last time both sides met in 2015. Since then, San Marino have failed to win a single competitive match in over 40 games. Just as we predicted in our betting preview, we did expect that game to see just as enough goals as it did.

Goals from James Ward-Prowse, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Raheem Sterling saw the hosts race to a 3-0 lead at half time. Calvert-Lewin grabbed another in the second half before Watkins came off the bench to complete the rout and mark his England debut in style.

Speaking after the game, Southgate admitted England were expected to win but that did not stop him from heaping praise on his side’s display.

“Of course it’s a game that we’re expected to win and win comfortably” he said to Sky Sports.

“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.”