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Southgate puts England woes down to final-third sharpness

Gareth Southgate dismissed suggestions. England’s recent struggles are down to a conservative approach, instead of ruing a lack of sharpness in the final third.

England drew 0-0 with Italy on Saturday as the Three Lions were left rooted to the foot of their Nations League group with just two points from three games.

England has scored just one goal across the trio of matches played this month.

As Harry Kane’s penalty in the 1-1 draws with Germany.

The Three Lions’ performances have been widely criticised, and while they did create chances against the Azzurri.

They were at times second best to a team undergoing something of a transformation.

A common criticism of England throughout Southgate’s time in charge has been that they lack an identity beyond their often pragmatic approach, but he did not want to entertain such an idea this time.

Asked if he saw the performance as cautious, Southgate told Channel 4:

“I don’t know how you can really.

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Southgate puts England woes down to final-third sharpness

“We tried to move the ball through an excellent, well-organised team.

“We’ve got the ball into our forward players, and we’ve given all of them a go, tried to refresh it because we know the state of the season we’re at.

“So, at the moment, that slight sharpness in the final third isn’t quite there.

“But I was pleased with the general performance.”

Tammy Abraham started in place of Kane in attack, with the Roma striker supported by Raheem Sterling, Mason Mount and Jack Grealish.

While Sterling and Mount each managed three shots and Grealish laid on a game-high four key passes, Abraham mustered only two shots.

One was a harmless off-target header and the other a wasteful finish after robbing Italy of possession inside their area, as he scuffed wide of the right-hand post.

Nevertheless, Southgate seemed encouraged by Abraham’s display.

“I said earlier in the week. We’ve been too reliant on Harry and Raheem for our goals,” he continued.

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Southgate puts England woes down to final-third sharpness

“Other players have got to step into that phase. A number of them do it for their clubs, but at the international level, they’ve not managed to convert that.

“So we’ve looked dangerous without getting the goals needed in the bigger games.

“I thought Tammy was fine. I haven’t seen that chance back from right at the start, but that’s probably the one [England should have taken].

“We felt we needed to refresh the team when we did it [brought Abraham off], but I wasn’t unhappy with Tammy’s performance at all.”

England will hope to finally get the first win of their Nations League campaign on Tuesday.

When they host Hungary, to whom they lost in Budapest last weekend.

Likewise, for more football news like this, click here.

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Southgate puts England woes down to final-third sharpness
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