Southgate: Nigeria were a really good test for us

2018-06-03 16:06
Gareth Southgate (Getty)

Cape Town - England manager Gareth Southgate says there are a lot of positives to be taken from his team's 2-1 win over Nigeria in their preparations for the World Cup.

Gary Cahill and Harry Kane scored two early goals for the Three Lions with Alex Iwobi pulling a goal back for the Super Eagles in the second half.

However, England were able to survive a late scare from the West African country to hold on to their win at Wembley Stadium on Saturday.

The match came 16 days before England open their World Cup campaign and Southgate was satisfied with the response from his team as they continue to prepare for the global showpiece.

The England manager also said that it is important for his players to protect each other having showed his support to underfire forward, Raheem Sterling, who reported late for camp after being given days off to attend personal issues.

Southgate told journalist after the match: "The first half was as good a half as we've had.There was a lot of unselfish one and two-touch play. Our play from the back had good composure. It would be easy to say we were complacent in the second half but that wasn't the case.

"We didn't come to terms with their change in formation or work out their midfield quickly enough. We were a bit slow to react at the back and then it was a really good test for us.

"That five or six-minute spell we have to learn from because in a tournament that's enough to put you out

"I had a decision to make whether to play him [Sterling] after turning up late but, actually, that wasn't a decision after he started to come under fire from every other direction

"It wasn't about getting a response. The most important thing I do in the next six weeks is protect the players. They respect each other and understand how important it is they support and protect each other.

"The situation was one we didn't want to happen. But this was the best way to deal with it in my opinion."

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