Gareth Southgate revels in England’s attacking success after overreaction to drab Ukraine draw

On the scoresheet: Jude Bellingham and Phil Foden both notched for England in their win over Scotland  (PA)
On the scoresheet: Jude Bellingham and Phil Foden both notched for England in their win over Scotland (PA)

Gareth Southgate insists he knows how to get the best out of Phil Foden and Jude Bellingham after watching the “roof cave in” after England’s draw with Ukraine.

The Three Lions dominated Scotland in a 3-1 friendly win at Hampden Park on Tuesday night, with strikes from Foden, Bellingham and Harry Kane cancelling out an unfortunate Harry Maguire own goal.

Bellingham earned man-of-the-match honours in a game which commemorated 150 years since the two nations played the first ever international football match back in 1872.

Asked about whether England have found a blueprint for Euro 2024, Southgate instead made his feelings known about the overreaction to the drab 1-1 draw with Ukraine in Poland on Saturday.

He said: “Different game, different pitch, different opposition. Ukraine sat deep and made it hard to find space. Tonight we had space for runners so it was just a different match.

“We have been playing pretty well - I know the roof caved in at the weekend as it wasn’t the performance that people wanted but we had a week where we made a significant step towards qualifying and we had a really good performance tonight.

“I thought the players from one to eleven, with the subs coming on, it was one of those nights where they all did well.”

Foden played on the right of a front three against Scotland also featuring Kane and Marcus Rashford, amid calls for Southgate to move either the Manchester City man or Tottenham’s James Maddison into central midfield.

Southgate praised Foden, whom he believes was in his right position. He said: “I am pleased for him as much as anything as I got a lot of questions about him this week.

“He scored a goal and I thought his performance was really good. He did a really good job without the ball for us as well. I think sometimes that’s overlooked.”

Bellingham played in a very advanced midfield position against Scotland, justifying that selection with a goal and an assist.

It is a similar role to the one played at Real Madrid, where he has scored five times in his first four matches following an £88.5million move from Borussia Dortmund this summer.

When asked whether Bellingham moved into his best position, Southgate said: “I think that high sort of midfield position as an attacking eight, or where he played tonight [is his best position].

“He likes to run forward. He can get in the box. His game to receive is a little bit better in those areas and tonight, his athleticism to press was important as Scotland’s system is difficult to play against.

“We slightly changed our system to put pressure all over the pitch and he did it well.”