Gareth Southgate happy with England’s progress


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England coach Gareth Southgate insists he was pleased with his side’s performances as they finished the latest international break with a 1-1 draw against Italy.

The Three Lions produced a solid display on Friday to overcome the Netherlands, with Jesse Lingard grabbing the winner.

For the clash with the Azzurri, Southgate handed Jack Butland a start in goal, while Burnley defender James Tarkowski made his international debut.

England took the lead through Leicester striker Jamie Vardy but they had to settle for a draw after referee Deniz Aytekin consulted VAR and awarded the Italians a late penalty.

Napoli winger Lorenzo Insigne stepped up to score and secure a draw but Southgate was happy with how his side performed over the two games.

He told reporters: “There have been some strong performances from individuals that have cemented – not their place in the squad, 19 or 20 of those were pretty clear – but it’s often who are the next ones in if we get a problem in a particular area,” said the former England defender.

“The things we’ve tried, we’ve learned a lot. What’s really pleased me is the guys are solving problems on the pitch themselves: changes of formation from the opposition, patterns of working their way through different pressing tactics.”

Southgate will name his provisional 33-man squad for the World Cup on May 14 before friendlies against Nigeria and Costa Rica.

They are now 17.00 to win the tournament but must come through Group G before trying to silence their critics.

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