Southgate enjoys growing options
Head coach Gareth Southgate believes he has learned some valuable lessons about a number of players bidding to be included in England's World Cup finals squad.
Having won 1-0 against the Netherlands in Amsterdam on Friday evening, the Three Lions gained a 1-1 draw with Italy at Wembley on Tuesday, being denied victory by a late penalty converted by Lorenzo Insigne.
The things we've tried, we've learned a lot.Gareth Southgate
However, despite that slight blow, Southgate felt that two games had given him plenty to ponder, even if he has already decided on a majority of the players who will be heading to Russia this summer.
He told reporters: "There have been some strong performances from individuals that have cemented - not their place in the squad, 19 or 20 of those were pretty clear - but it's often who are the next ones in if we get a problem in a particular area.
"The things we've tried, we've learned a lot.
"What's really pleased me is the guys are solving problems on the pitch themselves - changes of formation from the opposition, patterns of working their way through different pressing tactics."
Meanwhile, striker Jamie Vardy, who scored England's goal in the draw with the Azzurri, felt that his side had shown over the two games in the last few days that they are developing a defensive unit that can mix it with the best.
He added on the official FA website: "It has shown we can defend as a unit and that's what makes good teams.
"You need to be defending solidly at the back and then the chances with the attack that we’ve got will take care of themselves and we'll see how far we can go."
England are 13/8 to be knocked out of the World Cup at the last-16 stage, while they are 2/1 to lose in the quarter-finals and 22/1 to fail to get out of the group stage.
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