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Published 12 September 2023 4 min read
England Men's Senior Team

Southgate satisfied by England response in Scotland

Written by:

Frank Smith

Three Lions boss reacts to England's 3-1 win over Scotland and the performances of Jude Bellingham and Phil Foden


England manager Gareth Southgate left Hampden Park a happy man on Tuesday after his Three Lions saw off hosts Scotland by 3-1.

First-half strikes from Phil Foden and Jude Bellingham put England in control against their Auld Enemy, before a late strike from captain Harry Kane restored a two-goal lead following an unfortunate own goal for Harry Maguire midway through the second half.

And the performance was pleasing for Southgate, who made a number of changes to his team from the one which drew 1-1 with Ukraine at the weekend.

“I'm really pleased. I think that we were excellent in all phases of the game, right from the start,” he said.

“We wanted to control the crowd by using the ball well and showing composure and I thought we did that really well. We were a threat, we had runners in behind and I thought the players from one to eleven and the subs that came on, it was one of those nights when they all did well.

“It was a different game, different pitch, different opposition, at the weekend Ukraine sat really deep and made it hard to find space. Here, there was space for runners, so it was just a different match.

“We’ve been playing pretty well. I know the roof caved in at the weekend because the performance wasn’t what people wanted.
England players celebrating their second goal against Scotland
England players celebrating their second goal against Scotland
“But we’ve had a week where we’ve made a significant step towards qualifying, we’ve shown a really good performance here so we continue to build.

“We know we want to keep getting better and better. We’ve seen some new players come into the side, Marc Guehi and Lewis Dunk have done really well, (Eberechi) Eze coming on here, so there are a lot of positives for us.”

The performance of Real Madrid's Bellingham and Manchester City's Foden in midfield in particular caught the eye, and both of England’s goalscorers staked their claim with accomplished and balanced displays in the heat of the world’s oldest football rivalry.

“We know he [Bellingham] is a really good player. Saturday wasn’t his best game but we weren’t at the level we wanted to be,” added Southgate.
Thousands of England fans made the trip north of the border to support the Three Lions
Thousands of England fans made the trip north of the border to support the Three Lions
“We know he has fantastic personality to come back from something like that. His performances for us have been outstanding and one slightly below par game isn’t going to make a difference to how we see him at all.

“I think that high midfield position, whether that’s as an attacking eight or where he played tonight, he likes to run forward, he can get in the box, his game to receive is a little bit better up in those areas and tonight his athleticism to press was important.

“Scotland’s system is difficult to play against so we slightly changed our system because we needed to be able to get pressure on them all over the pitch and he did that really well.

“With Phil, I’m pleased for him as much as anything. I got a lot of questions about him this week and he’s scored a goal, I thought his performance was really good and he did a really good job without the ball for us as well.

“I think sometimes that’s overlooked, we used the ball really well and were in control for such long periods but the mentality of the team when we lost it to press well and counter-press well was exceptional.”