England reaction: ‘Very concerning’ Gareth Southgate calls for England to step up after Italy stalemate

England manager Gareth Southgate

England manager Gareth Southgate admits that his side are relying too much on the goals of Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling following Saturday night’s goalless draw against Italy.

The Three Lions drew a blank in the Nations League clash at Molineux to sit bottom of Group A. They had plenty of possession and enough chances to win the game but did not take them. And Southgate admits the lack of goals is becoming a big concern ahead of the World Cup finals.

England have just Kane’s penalty against Germany to show for their efforts in the last three games. The Tottenham star started on the bench with Sterling handed the captaincy for the night. But England lacked cutting edge throughout the game.

They did have some chances. Tammy Abraham who was prolific for Roma last season with 17 goals, missed a great chance. Mason Mount hit the bar, while Sterling also should have done better from close range.

England have a chance to get back on track against Hungary back at Molineux on Tuesday night. It is a game they need to win and Southgate will be hoping they can get back among the goals.

The boss did make six changes from the side in Munich. He was keen to get a good look at the players available to him. And was pleased with some aspects of their play. However goals win games and Southgate says England have to start sharing them around.

England have scored just six goals in five games in 2022. Kane has scored two, Sterling one. The others came from Ollie Watkins, Luke Shaw and Tyrone Mings. None of which were in the squad against Italy.

England open to criticism

“We used the ball better (that against Germany) and that is pleasing but we not got the rewards. We are very reliant on Harry and Raheem (Sterling) scoring goals for us and that is very concerning,” Southgate told reporters after the game.

“Harry and Raheem are the ones that consistently get goals and that is something we have to improve if we are going to progress as a team. Having lots of the ball does not guarantee you win matches and it doesn’t guarantee you will score goals. I’m sure we will be open to criticism.

“We have got some very good forwards and our captain’s goal return is constant. But we have got to spread the load. There are players who score more regularly for their clubs here who have now got to convert at international level.”

England now have just three games to find a solution and their shooting boots before Qatar. And Southgate will be praying nothing happens to Kane before then.

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