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Published 17 October 2023 6 min read
England Men's Senior Team

Kane and Southgate on 'relentless' England repaying fans at 'Fortress Wembley'

Written by:

Frank Smith

England captain Harry Kane and manager Gareth Southgate discuss England's 3-1 win over Italy at Wembley Stadium

Harry Kane was delighted England were able to repay their fans at ‘fortress Wembley’ during the 3-1 win over Italy, with his manager Gareth Southgate describing the players’ performance as relentless.

The Three Lions went into Tuesday night’s clash at Wembley Stadium connected by EE knowing a point would be enough to secure their place at next summer’s UEFA EURO 2024 in Germany.

And a brace from Kane, either side of Marcus Rashford’s impressive strike, helped ensure England would top their qualification group with two games to spare.

Kane said: “Qualifying is never easy. Sometimes we are just expected to go and get to the big tournaments but we have seen in the past it is not as easy as it looks.

“We have had a really tough group this time but credit to the boys, some of the results we have had, the performances, and we topped it off here today. We had to come from behind, stayed calm, knew we had enough to get the win and we did it.”

18 Oct 2023 3:21

Highlights: England 3-1 Italy

Watch the best of the action from Italy as the Three Lions seal UEFA EURO 2024 qualification

Harry Kane pulled England level from the penalty spot with his 60th goal for the senior team
Harry Kane pulled England level from the penalty spot with his 60th goal for the senior team

He then added: “Wembley is our home, we have made it a real fortress over recent years. We have a full house, the fans are loving it and we obviously want to repay them with good performances.”

Tonight’s victory was the first time England have won consecutive games against Italy since 1949 under Walter Winterbottom, with the 3-1 loss their first away defeat against the Three Lions since November 1977.

England have now won their last 13 home European Championship qualifiers by an aggregate score of 50-5.

And Southgate said: “The players are incredible to work with, I have to say. They are so hungry, so eager to learn, so together and you saw that in the performance tonight.

“We talked before the game about mentality being the biggest thing in those big matches and maybe you have to come through setbacks, but you have to be relentless, and I thought the performance was relentless tonight.

Gareth Southgate singled out his front three for particular praise
Gareth Southgate singled out his front three for particular praise

“What was really pleasing was that when we went behind we stayed calm. I thought we used the ball really calmly from the back. There have been moments in the bigger games where we have lost possession too easily.”

Southgate was also keen to praise the performance of his attacking players, with Jude Bellingham and Phil Foden both having a big impact on the game alongside the two goalscorers and was also complimentary about his midfielders.

He said: “Our front players worked unbelievably for the team – Marcus Rashford I don’t know how much ground he covered, Phil Foden, Harry Kane. When your front players are doing that kind of work it’s a brilliant sign for the team.

“The big difference with the team in the last couple of years is we have more legs in midfield, we have more physicality. You have got to be outstanding with and without the ball, and against teams that build in different patterns. We have got to be flexible and that is what our wide players and midfield did very well tonight.”

Report: England 3-1 Italy