Future bright for England, says Southgate

Simon Cambers
·2-min read

England manager Gareth Southgate says his young England football squad will "peak in three to five years".

Southgate used a number of younger players, including Phil Foden, Jack Grealish and Mason Mount in his side's three most recent internationals, with many more established names out through injury.

And though they lost 2-0 in Belgium to end their Nations League hopes on Sunday, wins over Ireland earlier last week and on Wednesday against Iceland offered plenty of reason for optimism as Southgate builds towards next summer's European Championships and the 2022 World Cup.

"We are trying to build a team," Southgate said on Wednesday after two goals from Foden and one each for Declan Rice and Mount secured their 4-0 win over Iceland.

"We have been nowhere near having all of our squad together this autumn and the bedrock of the team all wanted to play.

"The captain (Harry Kane) wanted to play, he led that. We could surround the young players with the stability of the experienced players."

With the likes of Jordan Henderson, Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford missing, the Iceland game offered more opportunities for the younger players to shine.

And Foden, with his first international goals, Rice, Mount and Bukayo Saka all took their chances.

"We're still trying to build and improve all the time," Southgate said.

"There was lovely football and it was good to watch and it was good for the young ones to get the goals - very special for them.

"The squad that we've had over the last three months is going to peak in the next three to five years and they'll get a lot more club experience and international experience.

"We'll invest the time in them. There are some very good senior professionals as well."