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Sports

AFP
November 16, 2017

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Young England are building bridges, says Southgate

Young England are building bridges, says Southgate

LONDON: England manager Gareth Southgate hopes his young team have started to win back supporters following successive 0-0 draws against heavyweights Germany and Brazil.

England endured a torrid 2016, humiliated by Iceland at the European Championship before new manager Sam Allardyce was brought down by a newspaper sting, hastening Southgate’s appointment.

But having qualified for next year’s World Cup, they made light of a glut of absentees to hold Brazil and Germany — the world’s two top-ranked teams — to goalless draws in their last two games of 2017.

“We’re building and Brazil are pretty close to the finished article. They’re a settled team, an outstanding team,” Southgate told reporters after Tuesday’s stalemate with Brazil at Wembley.

“We’re at a different point on our journey, but we will take huge belief from what we’ve done.“I think and hope the English public have seen that these boys have given absolutely everything and have played with pride and passion.

“I hope there’s a little bit more of a connection between the supporters and the team.”While Brazil’s attack bristled with star quality, England’s defence was striking in its relative callowness.

But Liverpool’s Joe Gomez shone on his full debut, earning the man-of-the-match award for successfully shackling Neymar, and Leicester City’s Harry Maguire, making only his third appearance, grew into the game impressively.

Southgate praised Gomez, 20, for his “calmness” and hailed John Stones for a “really mature” performance at the heart of such an inexperienced three-man back line.“We can look at areas that we need to improve, but we’ve found so many positives in terms of players who’ve performed at this level for the first time, the likes of Maguire,” Southgate said. 

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