Southgate granted birthday wish as Young Lions beat USA

2 years ago By Jessica Smithson

It was Gareth Southgate’s birthday on Thursday and the England Under-21s head coach admitted he got almost everything he wanted

The Three Lions kicked-off their new campaign with a 1-0 win against USA’s U23 side in Preston thanks to a second-half goal from substitute James Wilson.

And while Southgate says he did not really know what to expect on the pitch after just three days together with his new squad, he did pick out a number of pleasing elements.

England 1-0 USA

International Friendly Match
Thursday 3 September 2015
Deepdale, Preston North End FC

"It was a good start really," Southgate told

"We’ve had three and a half days as a group leading up to today, but what’s really encouraging is that the players have taken on a lot of information and have a reasonable understanding of how we want to play.

"We will develop and improve that and the detail of that will increase, but would we have liked to have won the game? We have.

"Would we have liked a clean sheet? We have.

"And we would have wanted to get everyone a cap, which is important for the group dynamic and to give them 30 minutes as well, so we were pleased."

With Southgate making nine changes in one go after an hour of the game, it was even more encouraging that none of the momentum was lost and it was those replacements who eventually carved out the winner for Wilson.

"The most pleasing part is the impact of that final 30 minutes," added Southgate.

"Because immediately, if we have a squad mentality like that when the subs come on and it becomes a game that they all have an impact in, then it’s encouraging for the next two years.

"And if I look at where we were two years ago, we played Moldova and won 1-0, the opposition today were better and we had more detail in our game today than we did two years ago.

"We’re probably a little bit further ahead than what we were then, but we improved that team over two years and that’s what we’ll aim to do with these.

"But I’m pleased for them to start with a win because we can carry that on until Monday and it gives us a bit of momentum."

Southgate and his squad will now head back to St. George’s Park to recover before they turn their attention to their trip to Norway next week.


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