England boss Gareth Southgate came out fighting over two players and issued a challenge after Italy’s victory.

 – Gudstory

England boss Gareth Southgate came out fighting over two players and issued a challenge after Italy’s victory. – Gudstory

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England boss Gareth Southgate has defended his decision to select both Kelvin Phillips and Harry Maguire following his side’s win over Italy on Tuesday night.

The Three Lions have qualified for Euro 2024 after an impressive 3-1 win over their rivals at Wembley.

Gianluca Scamacca put Italy ahead in the 15th minute and silenced the home crowd in the process.

But England came back strongly, with Harry Kane scoring two goals and Marcus Rashford also being on target to secure all three points.

England Harry Maguire Kelvin Phillips Italy

England pair Harry Maguire and Kelvin Phillips praised after Italy’s win


There were several good performers for England that night and they secured their places in the following summer’s competition.

Kane and Rashford were both impressive, while Jude Bellingham ran the show in the middle of the park.

Nevertheless, Southgate tried to prove a point by strongly defending his decision to select both Phillips and Maguire from the start, speaking to Channel 4 after his team’s win.

Phillips has worked hard for Manchester City since moving from Leeds last year.

As far as Maguire is concerned, his form has declined drastically over the past two seasons as the centre-back is no longer a regular at Manchester United.

However, for Southgate, he is the right man for the job.

And the England boss has also set the challenge for his players to ensure they are among the top seeds for next summer’s Euros.

“Ideally, we’d see everyone playing regularly, but you might see Kelvin [Phillips] and harry [Maguire] Both were excellent tonight,” he said.

“They are both important for us. They are up against really good players at their clubs.

“Calvin has Rodri and [Mateo] There will be a competition with Kovacic. But whenever Kelvin plays for us he does a good job.

“We need to make sure we are one of the top seeds next month. We need to win our next two games.

“We’ve got to keep that under control. We’ve got to keep building. There’s more to come from this team.”

“It was the toughest qualifying group with the seedings. People have criticized us for not beating the top teams enough.

“But we did really well.”

Southgate was delighted with England’s victory – and feels his attitude was perfect as he put his opponents to the sword.

“So hungry, so eager to learn, so together,” he said.

“And you saw it in tonight’s performance.

“We said earlier that mentality was the main thing. The performance tonight was relentless.

“The really pleasing thing was that when we went in behind we remained calm and used the ball calmly from the back.

“In other big games we have lost the ball too easily. Our forwards worked very hard. When your front players play like that it is a great thing for the team.”

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Harry Kane England Italy

With the help of two goals from Harry Kane, England defeated Italy and secured their place in Euro 2024.


“At times in the first half we were passive near our goal.

“The biggest difference over the last few years is that we have more feet and physicality in midfield.

“You need to excel without the ball against world-class teams.

“They [our forwards] Everyone is different and brings different qualities. We have dribblers, pace at the back and players who can come low.

“But you always need work ethic. In the biggest games you can’t take players for granted and that made me pleased with the performance.”

England has to play its next match against Malta on 17 November. They have already beaten the Minnows once in qualifying, a 4–0 win in June, with Kane, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Callum Wilson the goalscorers.


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