Gareth Southgate insists England ‘didn’t click’ despite ‘controlling the game’ against Ukraine
England manager Gareth Southgate believes his players “controlled the game” as they drew 1-1 against Ukraine in a Euro 2024 qualifier.
Kyle Walker scored his first international goal – courtesy of a wonderful Harry Kane assist – in a boring match held in Poland.
The Three Lions really went through the motions and seemed happy to avoid defeat in the end with Southgate saying it “didn’t click” on the pitch.
“Very tough place to come,” Southgate told Channel 4. “You could feel the atmosphere, a unique occasion.
“We controlled the game, we pacified a lot of that atmosphere by controlling the game. We didn’t create enough chances. If that is the case you have to make sure you don’t lose the game, so to come back from behind and get the point in terms of qualification very important.
“When you have that much of the ball you want to create more chances but the attacking play didn’t click today.
“Once you go behind you have a bit of a mountain to climb away from home but you have to remain calm. After we scored we controlled the game and I thought if anyone would win it it would be us, but we didn’t create enough chances to do that.”
READ MORE: England epitomise international break in timely Ukraine draw amid Southgate, Guardiola talk
On Walker, the England boss added: “He covered a very quick winger, he use the ball well and showed great composure for the goal. He is a very important player for our group.”
Southgate was high in praise of Marc Guehi, who partnered Harry Maguire in centre-back in the absence of John Stones.
“It was a great test for a young centre back,” he said. “He came through it really well, great composure and never looked ruffled.”
Goalscorer Walker was happy with his goal and knew it was always going to be a tough game against a passionate group of players.
“It was a relief. To represent your country and be as fortunate as I have this many times, it had been on my mind but now I can finally tick it off,” he said.
“I’ve played with H [Kane] for a number of years now and I know he likes to drop deep and spot that run. I saw the gap. I am pleased I could contribute at that end but my main job is stopping goals.
“It shows how intelligent he is as a footballer, he can drop deep and play as a number nine. We just need the best Harry Kane.”
Walker added: “It is a point away from home. We are in a good position in the group. It was always going to be tough coming here.
“Sometimes you have these nights. We had a lot of possession, we should have created a few more opportunities but this is a good Ukraine side. You take a point and we move onto Tuesday now.
“It is fantastic for Ukraine after all they have gone through.”
Ukraine 1-1 England: Rating the players as Three Lions go through the motions (football365.com)
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