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England attack bounced back, says Southgate

Seville (Spain) (AFP) – Gareth Southgate believes England’s attack answered their critics on Monday by scoring three goals in a whirlwind first half against Spain.

Raheem Sterling hit two either side of a clinical finish from Marcus Rashford, while Harry Kane was heavily involved too, providing a pair of excellent assists in the 3-2 victory in Seville.

Spain had never conceded three goals at home before half-time and while Paco Alcacer pulled one back, England’s win was secure by the time Sergio Ramos headed in with the game’s final touch.

Sterling, Rashford and Kane have all faced criticism in recent weeks. Sterling had not scored for England in three years — 1,102 days to be exact — while Kane’s international drought now stands at seven matches. 

Rashford, meanwhile, was guilty of spurning two golden chances against Croatia on Friday. 

“All three of them understandably had questions asked and all three responded with real top performances,” Southgate said. 

“We could play off them, retain the ball. Their speed was the obvious threat but the decision-making, passing, and finishing was top quality.” 

The scrutiny on Sterling’s performances for England has been particularly intense but Southgate had backed the 23-year-old to rediscover his scoring touch. 

“It’s not for me to take any credit, the only thing we did say is when he scores, he will score again and he managed to do so pretty quickly,” Southgate said.

“I don’t think he ever lacked confidence. Sometimes you get chances and think too much. Tonight he took the chances, he was prepared to hit the thing early.” 

England kept alive their hopes of finishing top of their UEFA Nations League group and this performance was their best since Southgate took charge. 

It was perhaps even their most impressive result since thrashing Germany 5-1 in Munich in 2001. 

Spain arrived on the back of three convincing wins under their new coach Luis Enrique, including one over England at Wembley, and had scored 12 goals in the process.

“They will gain huge belief from what they’ve done,” Southgate added. “As a team, to play the way they did, this can be a great reference point for them for the future.” 

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  1. Tom

    October 17, 2018 at 10:49 am

    To be clear, ENG had 4 shots in the first half, 3 on target and all 3 went in. Kane last season in the EPL, scored 30 goals with a single assist, so he doubled that stat in 1 game. In the 2nd half, they had 1 shot b/c they had around 20-25% possession. Spain had 20 shots, 10 on target and, luckily for ENG, a referee noted for handing out more red cards than yellow, decided to not call fouls as his history indicated.
    Pickford, who said after Alisson, the LIV GK messed up a Cruyff turn v LEICESTER, he wouldn’t try anything like that, forgot and could have been given a red card for his idiocy. But he got lucky and stuck around.
    While I like Southgate and his efforts, if that game was played 9 more times, I’m not sure ENG wins any of them. But the result means a win or draw at home v ?? means they stay in pot 1 for the 2020 Euros. Yay?

  2. Jack S.

    October 16, 2018 at 2:23 pm

    If England play like they did yesterday against Spain when the USMNT goes to Wembley next month for a friendly, it could get pretty ugly.

  3. John Valandingham

    October 16, 2018 at 12:43 am

    Marcus rashford’s amazing assist made the first goal possible and his personal goal was world class!

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