England team has learned a lot, says Southgate after drab draw

London, Sep 9 (IANS) England manager Gareth Southgate has said his team learned a lot from their drab 0-0 draw against Denmark at Parken Stadium in a UEFA Nations League game.

England were without Mason Greenwood and Phil Foden, who returned home following Saturday’s win in Iceland after breaking COVID-19 restrictions.

“We have learned a lot,” Southgate told Sky Sports on Tuesday. “We tried a new system which we will get better at given everything we have had to deal with – 10 pull-outs for various reasons.

“So we felt we wanted to start with stability – we could have probably been a bit higher with attacking threat in the first half, but we were in control and given the stage of the season the players are at that was really important.”

Southgate defended his 3-4-3 formation, saying the system needs to be developed against higher-quality teams.

“It wasn’t a game where we were going to be able to press high for 90 minutes so physically that had a bearing on the formation we played as well.

“We need to think about how we can develop the system against some of the higher-quality teams because against the lower nations that we’ve played, the 4-3-3 works very well. You lose a bit of the attacking threat in terms of the No 8s that we play but we look very solid defensively which is a great platform to build on.

“The options that we had to play a 4-3-3 tonight weren’t going to get through the 90 minutes and this was the best way to refresh the team but also to look at something different,” he added.