Gareth Southgate hails England’s ‘really good year’ after San Marino thrashing

The Three Lions secured their place at the 2022 World Cup with a 10-0 rout

Tom Kershaw
Monday 15 November 2021 22:53
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<p>Gareth Southgate applauds England’s fans at full-time </p>

Gareth Southgate applauds England’s fans at full-time

Gareth Southgate hailed England’s “really good year” after his side thrashed San Marino 10-0 in their final 2022 World Cup qualifier.

The victory on Monday night ensured England of their place in Qatar next year and, although the scoreline was farcically one-sided as Harry Kane scored four goals in the rout of the world’s lowest-ranked side, Southgate praised the hard work of his players and staff throughout the qualifying campaign to secure top spot in Group I.

“The qualification was earned away in Budapest, away in Warsaw, away in Albania and I’ve got to credit all of our players and staff on a really good year, the mentality, even in a game like tonight, we can’t do anything about the XI of the opposition but the way they played themselves was terrific,” the England coach said.

“Now is a good period to reflect, we’ve had 19 matches this season, it’s a lot in international terms and so much to take in but this is a good opportunity for us now to look at the past few months, the younger players, where we might take them and the experiences they might need over the next six or seven months before a World Cup.”

Kane became the first England player to score back-to-back hat-tricks since 1957 and now has 48 goals for the Three Lions, leaving him just five short of Wayne Rooney’s all-time England record.

“If we left him (Kane) another half an hour he might have got it, we would have had Wayne Rooney’s family on the phone telling us to get him off, but he’s a phenomenal goalscorer and he’s obviously not had the opportunity in some of those games where there have been a lot of goals available, we wanted to give him that chance tonight and he took it really well,” Southgate said.

The head coach also singled out Emile Smith Rowe for praise after the Arsenal midfielder marked his first start for England with a second-half goal.

“I thought Emile all week with us has given a really good account of himself, his quality and tight control is excellent, he’s inventive in his play so he’s got to continue what he’s doing, we finished with a very young side and a lot of promise for the future,” he said.

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