Blooding youngsters is path forward for England, says Gareth Southgate

Nov 12, 2017, 01:35
Blooding youngsters is path forward for England, says Gareth Southgate

Asked if the assured debuts of Loftus-Cheek and currently-injured Winks made him feel more positive about his options, the England boss said: "Yeah - and I think the slightly different system opens up different possibilities".

Against a well-oiled machine, they will have periods in the game where they control possession but I didn't think they hurt us.

"I felt like I needed to play a lot, so I came in and said I wanted to go away from Chelsea and play games".

Loftus-Cheek, 21, found it mentally tough to handle life in the shadows and had to learn to be patient. I had Gareth in charge for almost three years with the under-21s and the boys have been great.

Gareth Southgate's side may have won eight of their 10 World Cup qualifying games and remained unbeaten in Group F but their performances were far from convincing. So for me to get to that next level I needed to play regular football.

"But I believe that if you do all the right things, in time you will get your opportunities".

Loftus-Cheek looked like a seasoned global on the Wembley turf, pulling off a nutmeg and a Cruyff turn in the first half before being clattered as he played with a real swagger against Joachim Low's silverware-heavy team.

On the on-loan Crystal Palace midfielder, Southgate told his post-match press conference: "He's a player I've watched do that from under-16 level and despite his size and his appearance and the way he plays, he's not hugely confident at times".

"There are no guarantees but I feel I have a better chance of playing".

You sense, talking to Loftus-Cheek, that he has a sensible head on his shoulders. "For me, it was a real positive tonight". I'll find out whose played well tonight, who warrants the decision. "He can be really pleased with his performance". Ruben [Loftus-Cheek], [Joe] Gomez, when he came on, and Jordan Pickford have shown some really good qualities. If we do that, the technical type of player that is coming through our system now and the athletic profile we have got could be really exciting.

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