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Gareth Southgate told England in Germany: Top teams don’t lose two on the bounce

England avoided back-to-back losses for the first time under Gareth Southgate (Nick Potts/PA)
England avoided back-to-back losses for the first time under Gareth Southgate (Nick Potts/PA)

Gareth Southgate revealed he told his England players that top sides do not lose two games in a row before their battling Nations League draw in Germany.

Harry Kane’s late penalty, his 50th international goal, saw the Three Lions rescue a 1-1 draw at the Allianz Arena, cancelling out Jonas Hofmann’s strike, which had deservedly put the hosts ahead.

After slipping to a surprise defeat to Hungary in their Group A3 opener three days earlier, England avoided back-to-back losses for the first time under Southgate.

Harry Kane scores from the penalty spot
Harry Kane netted a late equaliser on Tuesday night (Nick Potts/PA)

Having described Germany as a “benchmark” in international football, Southgate challenged his squad to get straight back on track following a 1-0 reverse in Budapest.

Asked if his players could learn from going through a match as they did in Munich on Tuesday night, the England boss replied: “Without a doubt.

“This series of matches we are, yes, wanting to win but also learning and improving as a team. You can’t get that against lesser opposition.

“The quality of the game really tests every part of your player. I think we’ll review that and see things we can get better at for sure, but we’ve had some good results at Wembley and wanted to come away from home and get a good result, and it’s so important that we bounced back from a disappointing result.

“We challenged the players that a top team doesn’t lose two on the bounce and they’ve responded to that in the right way.”

Southgate also praised the collective spirit of a squad which still has a host of players who featured in the run to the 2018 World Cup semi-final, as well as the final of Euro 2020 last year.

“You know coming here is going to be a huge test of character anyway,” he told BBC Radio 5Live

“We had a core of the team there that have been to a semi-final and a final and that showed tonight because the way they fight for each other and dealt with the pressure, that is it the team sprit as much as the quality.

“I thought, of course, there are things we can look back on and do better, particularly the quality of our passing in the first half.”

Kane became just the second man to reach a half-century of goals for England.

The Tottenham striker is now just three shy of Wayne Rooney’s all-time record of 53 goals, and Southgate was delighted with his captain’s performance.

“He is one of those players that we won’t appreciate until he is not around anymore,” he added.

“The calmness to dispatch a penalty in Munich in the 87th minute, the attention will rightly be on that – but his all-round game was so important for us.

“These things we take for granted but are so important for the team.”

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