England boss Gareth Southgate welcomes new midfield options

England boss Gareth Southgate welcomes new midfield options
From ESPN - November 11, 2017

Gareth Southgate has been buoyed by the emergence of Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Harry Winks, just months after expressing his concern about England's dearth of midfield options.

England kicked off their World Cup preparation friendlies against reigning champions Germany on Friday, when an inexperienced side made light of injury troubles in an entertaining 0-0 draw.

Loftus-Cheek, 21, was one of five players to make his debut against the world's top-ranked side and produced a man-of-the match display, just as Winks did when making his bow in last month's 1-0 qualifying win in Lithuania.

Asked if the assured debuts of Loftus-Cheek and currently injured Winks made him feel more positive about his options, the England manager said: "Yeah, and I think the slightly different system opens up different possibilities.

"In the position Ruben played [against Germany], you could play Dele [Alli] there, you could play [Adam] Lallana there, so that different sort of profile of midfield player with a deeper one behind.

"I think we need the stability of the three behind that at the moment, but also all of those guys at the back use the ball well.

"At times it was difficult for them to press us because of the composure we showed and the system we played, so I think it was a brilliant experience for our players."

Five-time World Cup winners Brazil lie in wait at Wembley on Tuesday, giving England another chance to hone the three-man back line against elite opposition.

"In the qualification games tactically you have got very few questions to answer and you have got the same problem to solve," Southgate said. "I have not liked us in a 4-2-3-1. Our positional discipline with the ball has not been good.


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