Gareth Southgate praises five England stars after drab Denmark draw

Maitland-Niles was one of the debutants
Maitland-Niles was one of the debutants (Picture: Getty Images)

Gareth Southgate has singled out several England stars for praise in the drab 0-0 draw with Denmark in the Nations League.

It was a tepid display from the Three Lions, with Harry Kane coming the closest to scoring in the dying embers of the game as his goal-bound effort was cleared off the line by Mathias Jorgensen.

Otherwise, Denmark had the better opportunites, with Kasper Dolberg forcing a save from Jordan Pickford in the first half and Christian Eriksen wasting a chance in the latter stages of the game.

Debutants Kalvin Philipps and Conor Coady both started the game, while Ainsley-Maitland Niles and Jack Grealish also earned their first England caps after coming on as second-half substitutes.

The Three Lions are now on four points in Group E after their 1-0 win over Iceland on Saturday, with Belgium topping the group on six points.

Southgate’s experiment with a back three failed to yield a positive result, but the boss reserved praise for a number of his players, including three debutants.

Kane had an effort cleared off the line in the dying embers
Kane had an effort cleared off the line in the dying embers (Picture: Getty Images)

‘We’ve learned a lot, we tried a new system which we will get better at,’ Southgate told Sky Sports.

‘Given everything we’ve had to deal with, 10 pull-outs for various reasons, we felt we wanted to to start with stability, I think they’ve lost one in 25 games.

‘We could’ve probably been a little bit higher in terms of our attacking threat in the first half, but we were in control. 

‘Given the stage of the season that the players are at that was really important. It wasn’t a game where we were going to be able to press as high for 90 minutes. Physically that had a bearing on the formation that we played as well. 

‘Second half we started to accelerate the game with some of the changes where we felt we’re in control and putting Mason [Mount] into the middle of midfield made us a little bit more forward-thinking, Jack [Grealish] the same and Ainsley [Maitland-Niles] I thought did really well so, very pleased with the lads that made their debuts.

‘I thought Conor Coady was excellent, Eric Dier’s had two excellent games at centre-back for us, so the back three today were very, very solid.’

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