Jude Bellingham - England - Southgate

Gareth Southgate believes England’s fixtures with Brazil and Belgium allowed him to see the ‘good and bad’ of the Three Lions.

England warmed up for Euro 2024 with friendly fixtures against two of FIFA’s top-ranked nations this month, losing 1-0 to Brazil at Wembley before a 2-2 draw with Belgium on Tuesday night.

Southgate’s side were forced to twice come from behind to draw against Belgium. Ivan Toney scored his first international goal from the penalty spot to cancel out an opener from Youri Tielemans, before Jude Bellingham’s stoppage-time equaliser earned a draw after Tielemans scored his second of the game.

The England manager was pleased with the overall performance after dominating possession and praised the character of his team.

“I thought we controlled the game – possession tells us that – and we created a lot of chances so the piece of our game where the quality wasn’t there [against Brazil] was much better tonight,” Southgate said.

“Yes, we conceded poor goals and were vulnerable in the transition but that’s the trade-off we had with the profile of players on the pitch. I thought with the character shown, we really deserved to take something from the game.”

The fixtures provided a last change for Southgate to assess his options ahead of this summer’s major tournament and he insists he is happy with the options available.

“We are very happy with the squad. We have some exciting players and there’s a lot to work with because frankly we don’t know who is going to be available and there is a big chunk of the competitive season still to play.

“But these two games have been a great exercise for us. We’ve tested the players against top opposition and found out a lot of things, good and bad.”

18-year-old Kobbie Mainoo won the man-of-the-match award on his full England debut and Southgate was delighted with how the teenager handled his first experience with the senior side.

“He had a fabulous week with us and everything we’ve seen with his club, he reproduced in an England shirt.

“He was very calm, received well under pressure and he was strong. We were a little bit more open playing that way but the benefits with the ball were clear to see.”

Read – Winners and losers from England’s March internationals

See more – The youngest England debutants this century

Subscribe to our social channels:

Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube