Football

Gareth Southgate: England must cut out ‘ridiculous mistakes’

England must tighten up at the back by learning from the "ridiculous mistakes" during their 5-3 Euro 2020 qualifying win over Kosovo yesterday morning (Singapore time), manager Gareth Southgate has said.

Kosovo took the lead after 35 seconds following a mistake by defender Michael Keane and, although England responded with five goals in the first half, they endured a nervy finish at St Mary's after conceding twice in the second half.

Goals from Raheem Sterling, Harry Kane and a brace for Jadon Sancho highlighted England's attacking might, but Southgate was less than pleased with his backline, reported Reuters.

Said Southgate: "It was bizarre. The outstanding features and poor features are apparent to everybody.

"Poor individual mistakes, a poor start...

"The small period after half-time: Ridiculous mistakes, poor decisions, lack of covering back.

"We made the game uncomfortable for ourselves.

"There were mistakes that were concerning... they were such basic errors."

Former Manchester United and Ireland midfielder Roy Keane, meanwhile, accused the Three Lions of getting "bored".

He said on ITV: "England still have too many bad habits. Sometimes players get bored when the game seems over, that's where the sloppiness comes in...

"If you were on the training pitch at your club, you'd think that the players weren't taking it seriously, it was that sloppy."

Ex-England defender Martin Keown, wrote in his Daily Mail column that the Three Lions "have to get the balance right between attack and defence".

His former Arsenal and England teammate Lee Dixon was more scathing, saying on ITV: "I don't care (about the attacking side). What they're doing at the other end is sloppy.

"If they don't learn, they will not go further in any competition... There are too many holes between the back four and the midfield when we lose the ball."

Football