Gareth Southgate hailed the versatility of Jack Grealish and Mason Mount after England’s 3-0 win over the Republic of Ireland.
England put an end to a run of five straight draws between the two countries with a comfortable victory in a friendly at Wembley. Goals from Harry Maguire, Jadon Sancho and Dominic Calvert-Lewin wrapped up the result.
Southgate fielded a fairly youthful side, lining England up in a 3-4-3 formation. The system certainly seemed to work, with the Three Lions creating much more danger than their opponents.
After the game, the England manager praised the way his side used width to create chances – even if they could have taken more of them.
“I was very pleased with the way the boys played,” he told ITV. “A lot of young players, a lot of inexperienced players.
“We used the ball very well, created a lot of chances, could have been more comfortable if we’d taken some of those chances but overall very pleased.
“We were a bit slow at the start but that’s understandable. It’s not a team that have had a lot of time to work together. But over time our attack down the wings was good.
“The longer they went on, some of the interplay, some of the play between our attacking 10s and our wing-backs in particular was very good.”
Southgate praises Grealish
It was an interesting day for Grealish, who represented Republic of Ireland at youth level before switching allegiance to England. He got the assist for Sancho’s goal – and Southgate said both players were crucial to the team’s success.
He said: “The two players in those roles – Jadon and Jack – they’ve got the freedom to go either side of the pitch and try and create overloads.
“I thought at times both of them did that really well. Of course, as soon as they are turned and running at people, they are a real problem for the opponent.”
Asked if Grealish can play in the same team as Mason Mount, after they both started, Southgate replied: “Of course.
“There are a lot of other players in the squad as well. We have a lot of competition for places.
“You saw them in two different roles today, they can both play a lot of different roles. [Harry] Winks did well and [Bukayo] Saka looked a lot more confident than he did in his last game.”