As another round of international football comes to a close Marathonbet look back at what questions have been answered by Southgate’s young England team.
With the carrot of playing the final stages of next year’s tournament on home turf, how are the Three Lions shaping up ahead of Euro 2020?
Five Things Southgate Will Have Learned from the Euro 2020 Qualifiers So Far
Attack is the best form of defence
It’s fair to say Gareth Southgate won’t be looking back on last night’s game with much fondness, with several England defenders causing him sleepless nights. However, if England’s electric three-pronged attack is the strongest card they have to play, why not play it? Southgate may have to emulate a less successful England manager in Kevin Keegan and opt for the cavalier approach to give the Three Lions a shot at European glory next summer. England are currently second favourites with Marathonbet in the Euro 2020 outrights markets – and that’s mostly down to their explosive attacking threat.
Southgate needs to settle on his two centre backs
Who makes the cut alongside Harry Maguire? That’s the burning question after an erratic performance from Michael Keane. It’s back to the drawing board for Southgate after Tuesday night. He will surely be hoping one by-product of Aymeric Laporte’s injury is a sustained run-out for John Stones in the heart of the Man City defence, or he may need to take a second look at Lewis Dunk and James Tarkowski.
Sterling and Kane could be an unstoppable combo
At 24 and 26 respectively, England’s star pair are heading towards their peak years – and that could put the Three Lions in the box-seat to dominate at a tournament over the next few years. With Kane and Sterling leading the line and boasting nearly 100 caps between them, Southgate now has two genuinely world-class stars he can rely on before a ball is kicked in anger. Bar France, can that be said about many of their closest rivals currently?
Sancho is a star for today, not tomorrow
The 20-year-old demonstrated on Tuesday night exactly why he is currently the hottest property in European football as he scored a quick-fire brace and forced an error leading to another goal. Even more encouragingly for England fans, this felt like a performance where Sancho hardly even needed to move out of second gear to unnerve a shaky Kosovan defence. With a Sterling-Kane-Sancho axis likely to spearhead England’s Euro 2020 challenge, Southgate may just have found a winning formula to last three or four tournaments.
Ultimately it’s still a waiting game
Despite Kosovo’s creditable efforts to actually take the game to England, Southgate’s side remain unbeaten in a qualifying tournament in a run stretching back 43 games. England’s Achilles heel has always been winning the mental battle at major tournaments. That means for all the instant takeaways from last night’s game, we’re still in a holding pattern until England’s mettle is really tested should they step out at Wembley next summer in the latter stages of Euro 2020.
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