England were defeated 1-0 by Germany on Wednesday night, yet Gareth Southgate hailed his side's performance as England looked strong for much of the night. Here's four things we learned from the clash in Dortmund... Much of the match build up discussion revolved around that fact that Southgate was saying many of the right things as England manager and Wednesday night was an indication, that given time, perhaps he is the right man for the job. This was the most daring tactical approach from an...
Much of the match build up discussion revolved around that fact that Southgate was saying many of the right things as England manager and Wednesday night was an indication, that given time, perhaps he is the right man for the job.
This was the most daring tactical approach from an England manager for a decade. It showed fresh thought and willingness to experiment.
Yes it is disappointing to lose, but with a new formation, a strong performance and many young talents experiencing their first international minutes, the night was a success for Southgate.
England have often struggled with playing out from the back, yet in this system they looked comfortable. The tireless efforts from Kyle Walker and Ryan Bertrand meant that England seemed to have an extra man on the pitch.
Germany looked stumped by England's set up for much of the game and it was also obvious to see where the system would benefit players that missed out on Wednesday.
Raheem Sterling could work in the front three, whilst John Stones might benefit similar to how David Luiz has from being the central player in defence.
Much was made of England's depleted front line, and that was evident in their inability to score when on top. Nonetheless Jamie Vardy played well as the sole striker, pressing the German back line high up the pitch, and running tirelessly.
However, it should be Marcus Rashford that starts on Sunday against Lithuania. The youngster looked bright when he came on, and if England are to start looking forward to Russia 2018 and beyond, then Rashford needs to be given more time wearing the Three Lions on his chest.
Despite being outplayed for vast periods of the match, Podolski's thunderbolt seemed eerily inevitable. England were missing a number of players, but so were the world champions with the likes of Manuel Neuer, Mesut Ozil, Jerome Boateng and Thomas Muller rested.
The German's ability to survive the English ascendancy over the first hour or so, and somehow find a way to win, was impressively resilient.
Were they a club side it would be hailed as the performance of champions.