Southgate explains how England ‘shot themselves in the foot’ in Nations League

Southgate explains how England ‘shot themselves in the foot’ in Nations League

Gareth Southgate believes his England side “shot themselves in the foot” during their underwhelming UEFA Nations League campaign. 

The Three Lions played their last game of the competition on Wednesday night as they eased to a 4-0 win over Iceland at Wembley.

However, defeat to Belgium on Sunday meant they were already unable to qualify for the finals.

England finished third in Group A2 behind the Belgians and Denmark, a disappointing result for a team who reached the semi-finals last year.

And when asked to reflect on his team’s performance, Southgate revealed he feels England were their own worst enemy at times. But he is also keen to use it as a learning experience ahead of next summer’s EUROs.

Speaking to Sky Sports, he said: “I think it’s been a remarkable period, but it is for everybody in our country at the moment.

“We have got to learn from some of those experiences. We have had some very good performances. In actual fact two of the best performances were in games we lost, but also we shot ourselves in the foot during this period.

“We made life difficult for ourselves off the pitch. We had some red cards on the pitch which were costly. We never had all of our players available which some other countries did. When you’re playing at the very top level, all of those things can be costly.

 

“So I think the players in the last three days have responded really well to a difficult situation but we must also reflect that those things, heading into a tournament, would be really costly.”

Southgate “really pleased” for Foden

The England boss was also full of praise for young midfielder Phil Foden, who impressed on his return to the starting line-up on the international stage.

Foden had not started a game for his country since being sent home from a previous camp having breached coronavirus rules following the reverse fixture with Iceland.

But he set up the first goal and scored two of his own as he enjoyed a productive night at Wembley.

Discussing the Manchester City youngster’s display, Southgate said: “I’m really, really pleased for him. He’s such an exciting player.

“It was a big week for him to come back in and, of course, it’s not easy to walk through the door when he left as he did previously.

“For us it was done and we know what he’s capable of. It was good to get him into the game against Ireland and then today to get the two goals was a glimpse for everybody of what he’s capable of.”

 

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