Published 05 September 2021 6 min read
England Men's Senior Team

Southgate knew England would need time

Written by:

Frank Smith

Three Lions record comfortable 4-0 victory over Andorra but the visitors frustrate the home side in front of 67,171 fans

Gareth Southgate acknowledged his England team had to remain patient as they looked to break down a resilient Andorra side during Sunday’s 4-0 victory.

The Three Lions were comfortable throughout this contest but Jesse Lingard’s opener on 18 minutes was all they had to show for their dominance after the initial 71 minutes.

But a penalty from substitute Harry Kane, another for Lingard and a header from birthday boy Bukayo Saka made it five wins from five for England in their 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying group.

Southgate said: “It’s difficult for the team who were picked as they haven’t had as many matches together as a group and you’re playing against a team that know how to frustrate.

“All the goals in their matches tend to come late so you have to keep moving the ball, keep being patient and it wasn’t an easy task - especially for some of the younger players.”

Patrick Bamford was given his England men's senior team debut against Andorra

Southgate made 11 changes to his starting XI, with Leeds United forward Patrick Bamford handed his men’s senior team debut on his 28th birthday and Trent Alexander-Arnold selected in a midfield three alongside 18-year-old Jude Bellingham and captain for the night, Jordan Henderson.

Andorra proved difficult to break down early on but the opening goal came on 18 minutes when Saka’s cross from the left was controlled well by Lingard and the Manchester United winger found the bottom corner from around 12 yards out.

Lingard had another ruled out for offside two minutes later and there were several other chances before the break, with Conor Coady sending an overhead kick over the bar, Bellingham dragging an effort wide of the near post and Reece James firing over from 15 yards.

The Chelsea defender, who switched with Alexander-Arnold at the break to move into midfield, then rattled the crossbar early in the second half with a long-range, curling effort.

There were other chances for the Three Lions, with Saka denied when one-on-one and Alexander-Arnold firing over the rebound.

But England had to wait until the 72nd minute to extend their advantage, in a game which was played out in front of 67,171 fans at Wembley Stadium connected by EE. 

Substitutes Jack Grealish and Mason Mount combined well on the edge of the box before the Chelsea man was bundled over in the box, leaving another replacement Kane to dispatch the resulting spot kick.

The third then followed soon after when Lingard added his second, as the 28-year-old sent a 20-yard low shot into the far, bottom corner.

And the Manchester United man then played a key role in the fourth, as he crossed for Saka to head in and mark his 20th birthday in style. 

Southgate said: “He (Saka) got a fabulous reaction before the game, during the game and it’s lovely. You can see how popular he is with the rest of the team as well.

“I hope it gives him closure if it’s needed but I don’t think there is a player in that dressing room who thinks anything other than positively about what he did in the summer.”

England v Andorra report