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Published 16 June 2023 3 min read
England Men's Senior Team

Gareth Southgate happy with attitude and intensity

Written by:

Nicholas Veevers

Three Lions manager reviews win in Malta and talks about Trent Alexander-Arnold's midfield role

England manager Gareth Southgate was left impressed by the way his side took the game to Malta on Friday, as they took another step forward in qualifying for UEFA EURO 2024.

Three goals in the first 30 minutes put England firmly in control of the game as they made it three wins from three in their qualifying group with a 4-0 victory.

And the manager admits that it was no surprise after seeing the intensity of the squad’s work since reporting for England duty earlier in the week.

“The attitude of the players all week has been exceptional and they really took that into the opening half-hour especially,” he said.

“The desire to work to win the ball back as quickly as possible and the pressing was something that’s become very signature for us but we did it very well today.

“The quality of the goals was really pleasing and we’ve managed to get players onto the pitch that we wanted to see and players off the pitch that we wanted to get off so we’re very pleased.

“But we’re very conscious that it’s six points we want and it will be another step up in intensity on Monday night, so we’ve got to be ready for that.”
Trent Alexander-Arnold celebrates his goal against Malta on Friday
Trent Alexander-Arnold celebrates his goal against Malta on Friday
17 Jun 2023 1:59

Highlights: Malta 0-4 England

See the best of the action as England take three points in Malta

The major talking point of the match was the performance of Trent Alexander-Arnold in a midfield role for Southgate’s team, with the Liverpool man putting in an accomplished display on the right-hand side of a midfield three.

And having seen him play in a similar role with his club, as well as with England in a World Cup qualifier against Andorra at Wembley in September 2021, Southgate revealed he always felt Alexander-Arnold could have a part to play in a different role to his usual right-back slot.

“There’s never been any doubt in my mind that he can do it,” revealed Southgate.

“Tonight was slightly different to with his club, but I think it really suits his game as he’s able to get wide and he’s in all the areas that he gets in when he attacks as a right-back.

“Defensively it’s a slightly different role for him but he’s still learning that and it’s going to take a bit of time. He’s excited about it, we know the quality that he can bring and it gives us something different.

“We’d like it to be an option, he has a different profile to our other midfielders and I’m really pleased for him.

“We spoke about it around four weeks ago and he was excited about it and eager to learn about it.

“He scored a great goal, a great pass for the first and he was involved in the third.”

Southgate and his squad will now return to England, where they will face North Macedonia at Old Trafford on Monday evening.