England target improvement against top sides with Spain visit

Heather Diaz
September 12, 2018

The Burnley centre back won his first cap against Italy in March as part of a back three and he was on Southgate's standby list for the World Cup in Russian Federation, before pulling out to undergo a hernia operation.

Southgate's youthful side overshot expectations to reach the semi-finals of Russian Federation 2018, where they were beaten 2-1 by Croatia in extra time. So it's not just this team, historically the record is not impressive. "To do that we've got to improve in every area".

The coach didn't wear his trademark vest, or waistcoat, on Saturday as England lost to Spain 2-1 in its first game since its surprising run to fourth place in Russian Federation. We know the depth of quality they have despite the disappointment., Southgate said of the 2010 world champions.

"We want to test ourselves against the best", he told a pre-match news conference.

England captain Harry Kane will wear gold boots in his first worldwide after winning the Golden Boot as top scorer at this year's World Cup, although he said he was disappointed with his displays in Russian Federation overall despite scoring six times.

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That extra man playing in a central/defensive midfield role with inside forwards supporting Harry Kane upfront provides a better balance than the current formation - and with one clean sheet in seven games, a change of system is something that has been much needed for a long time.

"There probably is (more pressure) and that's a good thing".

"Obviously to see your country doing so well in a World Cup was brilliant and the way the country backed them was fantastic and part of the progress the team has made over the last couple of years has been brilliant". The semi-final was great for us but we want to experience a final and lifting those trophies.

England face Croatia again next month in the inaugural Nations League and kick-off their campaign against Spain at Wembley on Saturday.

"For us now, the summer is finished".

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